“Children deprived of liberty remain an invisible and forgotten group in society notwithstanding the increasing evidence of these children being in fact victims of further human rights violations. Countless children are placed in inhuman conditions and in adult facilities – in clear violation of their human rights - where they are at high risk of violence, rape and sexual assault, including acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Children Deprived of Liberty - The United Nations Global Study



This year, Monday 12th August is International Youth Day (https://www.un.org/en/events/youthday/) and to mark this event, WEPHREN is looking at issues relating to children in detention worldwide. Below, we start with a video raising the issue of the minimum age of criminal responsibility and then highlight an ambitious and important study, the Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty.




Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty


(https://childrendeprivedofliberty.info ) and (https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/StudyChildrenDeprivedLiberty/Pages/Index.aspx)


In this video Professor Manfred Nowak, the Independent Expert leading the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, gives a brief overview of this important study.



The core objectives of the Global Study are to:

1. Assess the magnitude of the phenomenon of children being deprived of liberty, including the number of children deprived of liberty (disaggregated by age, gender and nationality), as well as the reasons invoked, the root-causes, type and length of deprivation of liberty and places of detention;

2. Document promising practices and capture the view and experiences of children to inform the recommendations that the Global Study will present;

3. Promote a change in stigmatizing attitudes and behaviour towards children at risk of being, or who are, deprived of liberty;

4. Provide recommendations for law, policy and practice to safeguard the human rights of the children concerned, and significantly reduce the number of children deprived of liberty through effective non-custodial alternatives, guided by the international human rights framework.


More information on the methodology can be accessed here https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/StudyChildrenDeprivedLiberty/Pages/Methodology.aspx


Raise the Age

In the short video below, Kathryn Snow from Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, speaks about an issue of international significance that is particularly salient in Australia at the moment – the minimum age of criminal responsibility.



If you would like further information on this please go to the Raise the Age Fact Sheet from The Human Rights Law Centre in Australia https://www.hrlc.org.au/factsheets/2018/2/8/explainer-raising-the-age and if you would like to sign the petition, go to https://www.hrlc.org.au/take-action/raise-the-age


Kathryn Snow is an infectious disease epidemiologist with a background in microbiology. Her major research interests are chronic infectious diseases in marginalised populations. Her work focuses on hepatitis C infection in Australian prisoners, and tuberculosis in young people around the world.




Publications relating to young people deprived of their liberty:


van Dooren K, Kinner SA, Richards A. Complex health-related needs among young, soon-to-be released prisoners. Health and Justice. 2013;1(1). Full text


van Dooren K, Kinner SA, Forsyth S. Risk of death for young ex-prisoners in the year following release from adult prison. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 2013;37(4):377-82. Full text


Kinner SA, Degenhardt L, Coffey C, Sawyer S, Hearps S, Patton G. Complex health needs in the youth justice system: A survey of community-based and custodial offenders. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2014;54(5):521-6. Abstract


Borschmann R, Coffey C, Moran P, Hearps S, Degenhardt L, Kinner SA, et al. Self‐harm in young offenders. Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior. 2014;44(6):641-52. Abstract


Kinner SA, Degenhardt L, Coffey C, Hearps S, Spittal M, Sawyer S, et al. Substance use and risk of death in young offenders: A prospective data linkage study. Drug and Alcohol Review. 2015;34:46-50. Abstract


Degenhardt L, Coffey C, Hearps S, Kinner SA, Borschmann R, Moran P, et al. Associations between psychotic symptoms and substance use in young offenders. Drug and Alcohol Review. 2015;34:673-82. Abstract


Shepherd S, Spivak B, Borschmann R, Kinner SA, Hachtel H. Correlates of self-harm and suicide attempts in justice-involved young people. PLoS one [Internet]. 2018; 13(2):[e0193172 p.]. Full text

If you have any further resources or articles in this area to add to the collection, please send them through to wephren@phe.gov.uk 


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