STAKEHOLDER PERSPECTIVES ON THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN OF PRISONERS IN EUROPE
Keywords:Children of prisoners, stakeholders, COPING Project
AbstractChildren 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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