Refugee Council

Separated refugee children at risk in the UK

In 2008 alone, nearly 4,000 unaccompanied children arrived in the UK from war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. These children travel completely unprotected, sometimes for months, going without food or drinks for several days at a time, without knowing their final destination, speaking very little English and feeling anxious about what might happen to them when they get here.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1014576)




  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)



Children whose age is being disputed have particularly complex needs. Immigration officers have questioned their age, sometimes only on a simple visual assessment, and unless this decision is challenged (or while it is being challenged, which can take months) they will be treated as adults. Physically and emotionally, teenagers mature differently, and most refugee children don’t have documents to prove their age. If it was not for the work of the Refugee Council’s Children’s Panel, thousands of already vulnerable children would have been left to face the complex asylum process on their own - in a new, and sometimes hostile, country and perceived as “adults” when really, they’re only children. The Refugee Council urgently needs to raise £140,000 so we can work with age disputed children in London and the South-East. So far we have raised £52,000. (full proposal available on request)