Forty children who were detained unlawfully by the Home Office have received a £2m payout, according to a report in the Guardian today. The case caused the Home Office to change the law into detaining children whose ages are disputed, but the Refugee Council still works with children who are wrongly being treated as adults and being held in detention centres.
In response, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The government pledged to end child detention nearly two years ago, and while they have made steps to do this for children with their families, children who are here on their own, many having fled horrifying experiences in their own countries, are still being detained due to flaws in the system. This is unacceptable.
“We know from our work with detained young people that detention can severely damage their physical and mental wellbeing. There must be better guidance and training for people working on age assessments, and these should be done independently. Most importantly, these young people must be given the benefit of the doubt.”
The Refugee Council worked with 26 children detained as adults and subsequently accepted as children in 2010. Last year, 22 cases have been confirmed as children and some have still to be resolved.