• OLIVER ROBERTSON Programme Officer, Quaker United Nations Office, Avenue du Mervelet 13, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland; +41 (0)22 748 4800
  • KATHRYN SHARRATT Research Assistant, Applied Criminology Centre,University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK, +44 (0)1484 472886
  • GHEORGHE PASCARU Sociologist, Programs Department, Alternative Sociale Association, No.8A Cuza Voda Street, 700036 Iasi, Romania, 004 0733 955 116
  • JUSTYNA BIEGANSKI Magister Artium (M.A.) in education and sociology, Treffpunkt e.V., Fuerther Strasse 212, 90429 Nuernberg, Germany,0049 (0) 911 27 47 69 0
  • HELEN KEARNEY Project Officer, Quaker United Nations Office, Avenue du Mervelet 13, 1209 Geneva, Switzerland, +41 (0)22 748 480
  • NINA SOMMERLAND Student, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden, 0046 0736 31 08 61
  • ADELE JONES Professor of Childhood Studies, Director of the Centre for Applied Childhood Studies, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK, +44 (0)1484 473237
  • BEN RAIKES Senior Lecturer, Division of Social Work, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK, +44 (0)1484 473610
  • MIRJAM URBAN Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universitaet Dresden, Fetscherstrasse 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany, +49 351 458-3593
  • REBECCA CHEUNG Policy and Research Officer, POPS (Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group), 1079 Rochdale Road, Manchester, M9 8AJ, UK, +44 (0)161 7021000


Children of prisoners, stakeholders, COPING Project


Children of imprisoned parents have been identified as a particularly vulnerable group of children. Despite being an under-recognised and under-researched group, these children come into contact with a wide variety of professional groups and other stakeholders. From a wider study on the mental health, well-being and resilience of children of imprisoned parents, this paper presents findings from 122 stakeholder consultations in England,Germany,  Romania, and Sweden. Despite significant differences in prison systems and service provision, common issues were raised across the four countries. Prominent themes included: restrictions on regular contact with the imprisoned parent posing a threat to even strong parent-child relationships; the adverse emotional and social impact and the potential long-term consequences; stigma and secrecy; a lack of information; and issues surrounding availability of support services (although examples of good practice emerged, particularly from NGOs). There is a need for a reduction in the stigma that often prevents children and their families from accessing available services, greater awareness of the vulnerabilities of children of prisoners at policy level, a more equitable distribution of service provision, development of good practice models and more professional training.


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