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Children And Asylum Including Unaccompanied Children

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Many asylum children who arrive in the UK will have already experienced a lot of physical and mental hardship, not only will they have lost their homes, schools and friends, some children will have witnessed horrific events, and may of them have spent months hiding (and sadly, some children will have been tortured). Many asylum seekers are detained when they arrive in the UK and this can cause extreme psychological distress for detained children who rarely have access to appropriate education. Additionally, many asylum children do not receive adequate health care or a health assessment.
The status of children seeking asylum may not be clear, when the head of a household is granted refugee status, it is usual to grant the same status to the dependants. This is not required by any of the refugee treaties, but States do it in order to promote family unity. When a child is with one or both parents, the need to maintain family unity is clear, and therefore in most cases the child will be accorded the same status as his or her parents. However, if the child is with an uncle, a cousin or other relative, the State may not necessarily consider them to be a 'family'. It is possible, therefore, for each person, including the child, to make an individual claim. This could result in the relative being granted refugee status, based perhaps upon their 'well-founded fear', but in the child's claim being rejected. When this happens, the child can be separated from the relative, and they may become an unaccompanied minor. In practice, dependants should be considered for refugee status if they are living in the same household. Children may also arrive in the UK without any accompanying adults (see unaccompanied children section).

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