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Legal action against UK Home Office over child asylum seekers

Legal action against UK Home Office over child asylum seekers

It has been revealed that child asylum seekers in the United Kingdom have been placed in adult accommodation and threatened with deportation after being mistakenly assessed as adults by Home Office staff.  Lawyers claim that the department's new policy of hiring its own social workers to conduct age assessments on children has resulted in them being misclassified as adults. On this policy, legal action has been taken against the Home Office.

According to lawyers, the department's immigration officials incorrectly assessed some children as being over 25 when they arrived in the United Kingdom.

Asylum seekers over that age are not subjected to any age screening and, in some cases, are detained, facing deportation.  After being mistakenly judged to be an adult by Home Office immigration officials, a Sudanese teenager was wrongfully arrested for over a month and threatened with deportation in October 2020. After legal intervention, the adolescent was referred to children's services.

Experts have considered placing children in adult services to be an exploitation and safety risk. “Putting these children in situations where they are clearly at risk of harm is a significant breach of the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children,” Naomi Jackson of Social Workers Without Borders said.

A child was arrested for four days and then moved to a hotel with other adults for over a month before being transferred to local authority care after a legal charity became involved.


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