New guidance to help social workers assess age of young people seeking asylum

Author: Scottish Refugee Council
Category: Refugee and asylum seeking children

13th June 2012

Age assessment guidance aimed at helping vulnerable young asylum seekers get the right support, has been launched by Scottish Refugee Council.

The practice guidance, which is a first in the UK, is aimed at helping social workers in Scotland to conduct the difficult task of accurately assessing the age of young asylum seekers.

Young people often arrive seeking asylum without any documentation showing their age; may not know their age or their appearance makes it hard to judge. Correct age assessment is vital in order to ensure that they get the protection and support that they need.

Clare Tudor, Children's Policy Officer, Scottish Refugee Council said: "Age is a critical factor in asylum and immigration law as well as welfare law. A wrong decision made by authorities can have serious implications for how a young person will be treated in Scotland.

"While this is still an evolving piece of work, we feel it is a big step towards making age assessment more transparent, child-focussed, consistent and ultimately fairer.