Just imagine, if you can, that you are someone who has fled torture and persecution in your own country and have sought asylum in this country. Imagine also that you are a single parent and your children are with you. And then imagine that you are about to go into your vitally important asylum interview with the Home Office, and, because there is no other option, you have to take your children in with you.
You are then faced with an impossible dilemma – do you tell everything that happened to you but in front of your children – or do you hold some things back to save your children hearing you talk about it all? What a horrible dilemma for any parent.
And that is the reality for many of our clients that we see during our advice sessions held across the country. In England there is no child care provision for parents during the all important asylum interview, and parents are faced with this impossible dilemma.
Now in Wales there has been a successful pilot and a similar pilot is about to be launched in Scotland. Refugee Council staff across the country are pushing hard for similar child care provision to be provided in England.
We are also working with our partners across the refugee sector, most notably with Asylum Aid as a part of the charter of rights of women seeking asylum, to push for change on this issue.
Child care during asylum interviews is good for people seeking asylum, it is good for their children and it is good for the Home Office – so why can’t we have provision of child care across the whole of the country?