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Children,Poverty, Resilience and Criminal Justice Helen Codd Reader in Law and Criminal Justice, Lancashire Law School.

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Presentation on theme: "Children,Poverty, Resilience and Criminal Justice Helen Codd Reader in Law and Criminal Justice, Lancashire Law School."— Presentation transcript:

1 Children,Poverty, Resilience and Criminal Justice Helen Codd Reader in Law and Criminal Justice, Lancashire Law School

2 Children, Poverty, Resilience and Criminal Justice Children as victims of crime Children as offenders Children with imprisoned family members, including mothers, fathers and siblings Children may be in all these categories: imprisonment of a family member is often one more thing which goes along with poverty, social exclusion and family issues

3 Researching Resilience Resilience as protecting children from becoming offenders especially if their family members are involved in crime Resilience in relation to familial imprisonment The persistent invisibility of imprisonment

4 Children of Prisoners 200,000 children per year affected by imprisonment of a parent (more than those affected by divorce) Children can be affected by the imprisonment of other family members, including siblings

5 Imprisoned mothers 17,000 children per year separated from their mothers (estimated) Mothers are often held long distances away from their children (and further away than male prisoners)

6 Impacts of Imprisonment Can benefit children if it leads to increased stability/respite Financial Changes in residence and/or caregivers Emotional and behavioural problems Difficulties at school Problems of not knowing the truth Stigma/victimisation/fear

7 Researching Resilience Growing UK research interest in protective factors present in children of prisoners themselves and their environment, and in possible interventions to build resilience

8 UK Research Professor Janet Walker (et.al.) – Newcastle University- Pathways Into and Out of Crime: Risk, Resilience and Diversity (led to several published reports): one study within this focused on risk, protection and resilience in the family life of children and young people with a parent in prison. -identified importance of kin and friendship networks in helping children cope

9 The COPING Project January 2009-December 2012 Consortium of partners (including research institutions and NGOs) in six EU countries researched the impact on mental health, well-being and resilience of children with imprisoned parents (funded under EU 7 th Framework Programme). UK work was based at Huddersfield University. Child-centred: it aimed to gather information from the perspectives of children themselves and used methods that facilitated the active engagement of children and young people

10 COPING Project findings Found many pathways by which parental imprisonment may affect a childs wellbeing Children with imprisoned parents as a group are at a significantly greater risk of suffering mental health difficulties than children who do not have parents in prison Identified key factors relating to childrens resilience including childrens innate qualities; the importance of stability provided by caregiving parents, and the importance of sustaining and maintaining relationships with the imprisoned parent

11 COPING project findings … Childrens resilience is closely linked to open communication systems and children need opportunities to discuss their experiences throughout the period of imprisonment Schools can play a key role in contributing to the emotional well-being of children of prisoners

12 Conclusions- Children, Poverty, Resilience and Criminal Justice Relevance to West Cumbria? –Children growing up experiencing poverty and social exclusion may also be experiencing parental involvement in crime, criminal justice and imprisonment –Imprisonment in the family is often the elephant in the room when we talk about children growing up with poverty and social exclusion –Children in areas with high levels of social exclusion may experience imprisonment within their home community, kin and friendship networks –Schools can play a key role in building resilience –Need for grass-roots, child-centred research

13 Questions? Any questions?


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