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New report: Play in the face of adversity

Today we publish a new report setting out why it is important to protect the right to play of children in the asylum system in the UK.

Today, we published a new report on the importance of play for children in the asylum-seeking system, particularly those living in hotel-type accommodation. The report was commissioned by the office of the Scottish Children and Young People’s Commissioner to inform their new Human Rights Analysis Report on Placing Children in Hotel-Type Accommodation.

The Children’s Commissioner’s report describes how housing children in hotels can violate their human rights, exacerbate trauma and damage health.

Our paper, Play in the Face of Adversity, looks specifically at children’s right to play. It discusses why and how we should promote and protect the right to play for children in the asylum system. It also summarises research on the value of play for children in the asylum system, and the barriers to play faced by these children.

Play is a basic right recognised in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is a fundamental part of childhood. Play also makes an important contribution to children’s development, helping children to thrive during infancy, childhood and adolescence, and to become happier, healthier adults making positive contributions to society and the economy.

Alongside the universal benefits of play, play can have specific benefits for children who have experienced adversity, such as those seeking asylum. Play can help children overcome trauma; can provide some normality in a constantly changing world; can support integration, and can also maintain links with their culture and place of origin.

Children seeking asylum, particularly those in hotel accommodation, can face many barriers to play. This play deprivation is likely to further exacerbate the harms caused to children by their experiences of migration and seeking asylum and will impair their recovery from traumatic experiences. Play in the Face of Adversity sets out recommendations for what policy makers and practitioners might do to protect and promote these children’s right to play.

Read our new report Play in the Face of Adversity.

Read the new report from the Office of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland Sometimes I Feel Like I am in Prison – Placing Children in Hotel-type Accommodation