Refugee children fleeing war 'need better support'
Monday 17 October 1994
Launching its fourth report in the Violence and Young Minds campaign today the charity demands a network of properly resourced child and family mental health services throughout Britain, with adequate central funding to provide English as a second language in schools.
The report, War and Refugee Children, says 23,500 such children were currently living in Britain, with 85 per cent of those in London. Between 250 and 500 enter Britain unaccompanied each year, of which half will end up in children's homes.
Refugees' problems are exacerbated by the fact that most do not receive full refugee status. In the second half of last year, 77 per cent of applications for political asylum were rejected. Of the rest, only 5 per cent were granted full refugee status, with the other 18 per cent given 'exceptional leave to remain', which does not bring the same entitlement to benefit, education and housing.
Before July last year anyone applying for asylum had the same rights to permanent local authority accommodation as anyone who was homeless and categorised as being in priority need. Since then, local authorities have had the option to give asylum-seekers temporary accommodation only.
'At the moment there are absolutely no services whatsoever,' Jill Rutter, education officer of the Refugee Council, said. 'They are left to their own devices. Young people of 14, 15 are particularly vulnerable.'
Steve Flood, author of the report, said mental health problems associated with exposure to armed conflict should be taken more seriously. 'Children become very withdrawn, become aggressive, suffer eating disorders, sleeping problems. Somatic problems are very common - headaches, stomach aches, physical pain - but the most worrying aspects are associated with bad concentration and impaired memory, which holds back their development at school and in society.'
Throughout the century the proportion of civilians among the casualties of war has increased enormously. While only one in ten casualties were civilians in the First World War, by the Second World War, 50 per cent of casualties were civilian and over the past 10 years this proportion has risen to 75 per cent. According to Unicef, between 1980 and 1990 1.5 million children died in war, 4 million were left injured and 10 million were traumatised.
The research assimilated by the charity suggests that children cope better in a stable environment such as a school. The charity is therefore calling for schools to provide training for teachers on refugee issues and local educational authorities to provide a special co-ordinator.
Young Minds is also campaigning to secure funding for English as a second language, which was previously given out under Section 11 of the 1966 Local Government Act. From April next year more than half this money will be put into the Single Regeneration Budget, which means language funding will be competing with urban regeneration projects.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Malaysia Airlines: Search for true identity of passengers with stolen passports launched as terrorism concern grows
Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
International Women’s Day: 'When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch' - feminist quotes from female icons to inspire you
Dead woman's body found sitting in a car after six years after direct debits ran $54,000 bank account dry
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 3 Dear 'The Sun', breast cancer isn't sexy
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...