Bishop of Chichester raises concerns about the mental health of unaccompanied child refugees

Chichester190718bOn 25th June 2019 Lord Dubs asked the Government “how many unaccompanied child refugees have entered the United Kingdom since the beginning of 2016 under (1) section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 or (2) the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation”. The Bishop of Chichester, Rt Revd Martin Warner, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Chichester: My Lords, is the Minister aware of the recent report by the Church of England’s Children’s Society entitled DistressSignals, in which the mental health of unaccompanied children entering the UK for asylum was examined? The report notes that these children show a high risk of suicide and self-harm and find it extremely difficult to communicate their needs and fears to professionals. Does she recognise the value of these young people being assured and guaranteed access to a guardian—a respected, stable, safe and trained person—so that they can have the support they need?

Baroness Williams of Trafford: I have not read the report but I totally appreciate what the right reverend Prelate is saying, because any child who finds themselves in strange circumstances may well be expected to have mental health problems arising from trauma. For children fleeing war-torn regions of the world, often without their families, that state is manifest by numerous factors. I agree that support systems should be and are in place to safeguard them. I also pay tribute to the Church of England for the role it has played in community sponsorship schemes.


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