09 February 2017
The British Psychological Society has commented on the recent Home Office announcement on unaccompanied child refugees.
The BPS is extremely concerned about the psychological wellbeing of thousands of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, following the announcement yesterday by the Home Office that only a further 150 children will be transferred to the UK.
“Many of these children will be traumatised and have complex psychological needs that require prompt, effective and humane treatment”, said Jamie Hacker Hughes, Vice President of the BPS and convenor of the Society’s taskforce on Refugees and Migrants.
“Yesterday’s announcement means that only 350 unaccompanied children in total will have been transferred under section 67 of the Immigration Act as part of the “Dubs amendment”. This falls far short of the 3,000 Lord Dubs called for the Government to commit to in 2016. We recognise that this decision has been based on the capacity of local authorities to care for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, but this lack of capacity means that we are not meeting our humanitarian obligation to ensure the protection, safety and psychological wellbeing of each and every unaccompanied minor”, Hacker Hughes continued.
The BPS calls for the government, all psychologists and other health, social care and educational professionals to work together to uphold our legal obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
The Society also urges the Government to accelerate the delivery of a safeguarding strategy for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children living in or being transferred or resettled to the UK. The BPS emphasises that there are important and additional considerations which need to be made in any measures taken with these minors. In particular prompt, effective and humane action is vital as many will have multiple and complex needs.
Full details can be found in the BPS statement published in November 2016.