Unaccompanied migrant children and young people need better support

12 June 2013

We welcome the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ new report calling for better protection for unaccompanied migrant children and young people

Ellen Broome, Director of Policy at The Children’s Society, said:

'This crucial report highlights an issue that too often goes unnoticed -- the fact that incredibly vulnerable children are being failed by the immigration system and denied the support they need to keep them safe.

'Many of these children have fled violence and terror, or are victims of trafficking. But too often they are treated with suspicion and doubt over their age, nationality and even the harrowing experiences they have suffered, regardless of what this means for their welfare.

'These children need specialist support from the point they arrive in the UK until they settle here for life or can return to their country when it is safe for them to do so. It is critical that they are not put at risk of being left hungry, homeless and at risk of exploitation, and receive the protection they need as is the case for all children in the UK.

'The government needs to treat these children as children in need first - not as immigration statistics.'

Ends

Media enquiries

For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07775 812 357 or email beth.herzfeld@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • See more about the culture of doubt facing children seeking asylum on their own
  • The Children’s Society’s written submission to the Committee and oral evidence submitted.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.