Views from children on coping with a family member in prison

Date: 7th August 2014
Category: Children of prisoners

Every year 27,000 children and young people have to cope with someone in their family being in prison: a new Enquire blog addresses this pressing children's rights issue.

27,000 children is even more than the number each year who see their parents get divorced.

The blog explores children and young people's views and the support that schools can give. Here are some of the feelings expressed by youngsters with family members in prison: "I am so angry with my dad about what he did, but I miss him every day." "It was such a shock that I don't want to see my mum right now, but I am also really sad about what happened." "No one's telling me anything." "I want to be like everyone else."

A child's right to maintain contact with an imprisoned parent is implicit in Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which requires that:

States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child.

In addition, the rights of the child as stipulated by the 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states that:

Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his or her parents, unless that is contrary to his or her interests.