This blog post is part of a series leading up to our Age Assessment Guides online launch event on September 9th 2020 for the Young People’s Guides to Age Assessments. The guides will be launched on our website, and at 5pm we’ll live stream a discussion on our Youtube and Facebook page. Please see this post for full details.

Rebecca Tooth is a Progression Coach at Statham House, a supported accommodation service for looked after children by the charity DePaul. Here she talks about her work at Statham House supporting young people who have had their age disputed, and how the guide will be helpful to young people in this situation.

I have worked at Statham House with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking children since 2016. We as a team have supported many young people who have had their age disputed. This has caused lots of confusion and distress for them. One of the main reasons for this is not understanding the process and the pressured interviews they were receiving about their age. This guide would therefore be really useful to be able to give to young people in this situation.

Young people have often communicated that they feel overwhelmed with the number of adults interviewing them and asking them lots of questions about their life, journey over to the UK and their backgrounds. They find it very difficult to open up and trust people in these interviews. One young person said that the age assessment process caused them to panic and become withdrawn. Another felt that the questions they were being asked were too intrusive and were set out to try and catch them out.

I feel having this guide to give to the young people about the age assessment process would be a fantastic tool in helping them prepare for the potentially difficult meetings ahead of them. I think it would help to alleviate some of their anxieties around the purpose of the interviews, the role of the people present and what to expect. I also feel that being able to read feedback from other individuals who have been through the same process is a really useful way to put some young people at ease.