OutCry! response to Children’s Commissioner’s report 17 February 2010

Press statement in response to the Children’s Commissioner’s follow up report to the Arrest and Detention of Children subject to Immigration Control.

The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees strongly support the report published by the Children’s Commissioner for England, which adds to a growing body of evidence that the process of immigration detention is harmful to children.

As part of the OutCry! campaign, the two organisations support families who are currently detained or have been detained in Yarl’s Wood. OutCry! is calling for an end to the immigration detention of children.

Lisa Nandy, Policy Adviser at The Children’s Society, comments:

“This report reflects what we are seeing on the ground today with families who are currently detained in Yarl’s Wood – whilst conditions have certainly improved, we retain fundamental concerns about the way that families are treated.

The concerns expressed in the report about healthcare provision at Yarl’s Wood are especially worrying: the failure to respond to serious injuries, the inability to assess children’s emotional needs and the deficiencies in preventative healthcare provision, such as immunisation, are bound to seriously impact on children’s well-being, both while the child is in detention and afterwards. It is outrageous that children in the UK are subjected to such inhumane treatment at the hands of the state.”

Celia Clarke, Director, Bail for Immigration Detainees, comments:

“For the UKBA to claim that some children thrive in detention is quite simply astonishing. The trauma experienced by children in detention comes across very strongly in this report. Children showed diminished physical, mental and emotional health, and in several cases this was not recognised by staff at Yarl’s Wood. Particularly concerning is the lack of access to Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services for a number of seriously disturbed young people.

The welfare assessment reports are an vital way of measuring how children in Yarl’s Wood are doing. It is disturbing that the report suggests that these assessments are not detailed enough to correctly identify children’s needs, some of which are clearly not being met.”

Media enquiries:
For more information or to arrange interviews with expert spokespeople and families detained in Yarl’s Wood please contact: The Children’s Society’s Media Team, Tel: 020 7841 4422 Email: rafi.cooper@childsoc.org.uk, mobile: 07810 796 508.

The Children’s Society is a leading children’s charity committed to making childhood better for all children in the UK; www.childrenssociety.org.uk

Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) is an independent charity that exists to challenge immigration detention in the UK. We work with asylum seekers and migrants, in removal centres and prisons, to secure their release from detention. www.biduk.org

The Children’s Society and Bail for Immigration Detainees are working in partnership on a three-year campaign to end the immigration detention of children. The ‘OutCry!’ campaign is funded by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. www.theworkcontinues.org