Lucy's question: what difference does a year make when assessing a child's age? - Refugee Council
December 2, 2010

Lucy’s question: what difference does a year make when assessing a child’s age?

Q: Lucy (via email) –  I have heard that sometimes people argue over whether a child is, for example, 14 or 16. Why is it so important to make a fuss over 1 or 2 years if they are still being treated as a child?

A: Francesco – Hi Lucy, it may not seem important to some people but if you think about it, it’s really really important for lots of reasons. A 14 year old needs to be looked after as a 14 year old and needs to be in school with children of the same age. If you remember when you were 14, can you imagine how difficult it would have been to suddenly be told that you were 16? As well as not being believed, it would turn your whole life upside down. For these children it usually means that they are expected to live on their own and look after themselves, to miss out on school, and that they will be thought of as 18 and be treated as adults all too soon. Even one year at this age makes a huge difference.

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