About our Place of Safety? campaign
There are around 100 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children living in Wales, looking to find a place of safety. Many of them have experienced traumatic events on their journey, including parental separation, sexual exploitation or exposure to armed conflict. These experiences can bring unaccompanied-asylum seeking children to crisis points.
At NYAS Cymru we work to protect, support, empower and safeguard every child and young person that we come into contact with. We have made one recommendation on each of these points to ensure that Wales is seen as a place of safety for all children, with the aim of supporting Welsh Government’s most recent Refugee and Asylum Plan.
Did you know?
- Almost half (44%) of children identified or suspected as being trafficked went missing in 2017.
- Nine in every ten (88%) cases referred to the Refugee Council’s “Age Dispute Project” were assessed to be children
- Over half (54%) of unaccompanied and separated children in the UK are thought to be suffering from PTSD, and almost one in three (30%) have depression.
- As few at 11.7% of unaccompanied refugee minors report contact with mental services in host countries.
What we want to happen
Like Welsh Government, we want asylum-seeking children in Wales to feel safe, and be supported in rebuilding their lives. In our report, Place of Safety? we’ve made four key recommendations to ensure that happens.
- Protect children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are provided with clear summaries in their native language as to the mental health and wellbeing offer in Wales, including how to access that support.
- Support children and young people through the Age Assessment process.
Welsh Government should create clear guidance for Local Authorities and practitioners on the role of the Appropriate Adult in Age Assessments and ensure that every unaccompanied asylum-seeking child has the right to an independent Appropriate Adult who has been trained for their role.
- Empower children and young people with independent advocacy.
Every unaccompanied asylum-seeking child must have an active offer of independent advocacy so that their rights and entitlements are protected throughout their asylum journey.
- Safeguard children and young people from trafficking and exploitation.
Welsh Government should make statutory provision for every child in Wales to be offered an independent return interview after a missing episode, conducted by someone independent of the police and local authority. Every unaccompanied asylum-seeking child must be given information about trafficking and exploitation in their own language.