Current statistics reveal that the number of refugees and forcibly displaced individuals was at an unprecedented high in 2015: some 65.3 million people worldwide, among them nearly 21.3 million refugees and over half aged under 18.
Nearly 34,000 are forcibly displaced each day; many due to war and conflict, which has the most adverse consequences on children making them particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and trauma. The number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum increased by 29 per cent between 2014 and 2015, comprising four per cent of the entire looked after children population.
In order to fully understand the nature of trauma, loss and adversity a young person is subject to during resettlement, each stage of their journey must be reviewed. Young people who begin their journey due to war and conflict often experience trauma from the outset, may be in a constant state of fear, or they may have witnessed extreme violence and brutality. During their displacement, basic needs such as shelter, food and warmth are sparse (or non-existent) and a significant number of young people become unaccompanied.
There is ongoing uncertainty about a young person’s future as they embark on such a life-threatening journey. Parents may be experiencing their own trauma and may be endangering their children in the hope for a better future. Further issues occur once the final destination is reached as refugees face uncertainty with regard to their asylum status. This often hinders a young person from participating in education, employment and training (EET).
The IRCT concerns itself greatly with increased displacement of unaccompanied children and seeks to organise a fact finding mission to Calais, France, to further highlight the issues that immigration has on young people, trauma, children’s services and the workforce.
Key points, essential to know, are:
- Forcible displacement is on the rise
- Unaccompanied children are putting a strain on children’s services in the UK as services are struggling to cope with ever-rising incidents
- Unaccompanied, young asylum seekers experience a great deal of trauma
- Recovery of young migrants is often put on hold as there is ambiguity in regards to their asylum status
Department for Education (2015) Children Looked After in England (Including Adoption and Care Leavers) Year Ending 31 March 2015.
The UN Refugee Agency (2015) Figures at a Glance.[Online]. Available from: http://www.unhcr.org/uk/figures-at-a-glance.html