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COPING - Children of Prisoners, Interventions and Mitigations to Strengthen Mental Health

Drittmittelgeber:
EU (Gesamtprojekt: ca. 2,85 Mio €; Dresden: 222.000 €)

Projektzeitraum:
01/2010 bis 12/2012

Mitarbeiter:
Mirjam Schuster, Matthias Schützwohl


Projektinhalt:
COPING is a child-centred project which aims to investigate the characteristics of children with imprisoned parents, their resilience, and their vulnerability to mental health problems. This group of children is exposed to triple jeopardy through break-up of the family, financial hardship, and extremes of stigma and secrecy, leading to adverse social and educational repercussions. Although the study will cover four countries, the findings are expected to have European wide and international application since the extreme disadvantage experienced by these young people is little recognised in any country.

Support for children in accessing prisons and participating in prison visits, for example, is extremely variable and mainly provided through non-governmental organisations. Support for imprisoned parents, whose moral authority is diminished through their incarceration, is equally inconsistent. The COPING research strategy places the clearest emphasis on knowledge obtained directly from children and young people. The project will commission surveys of 200 children in each country with an imprisoned parent, using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, to ascertain coping strategies and mental health problems for these young people, which will be compared with normative population samples. Smaller groups of children and parents will be involved in in-depth qualitative interviews to explore the impact of parental imprisonment and support services available in greater detail. Interventions to support these families will be comprehensively mapped. Children will play a prominent role in disseminating research results to policy makers, professional bodies and key organisations.

The impact of the COPING project will include improvements in information about this group of children; step changes in Government and public awareness about their plight; potential new legislation; and improvements in prison regimes to enable effective contact and visits for children to imprisoned parents, and in education and support of parents prior to family reunification.

A consortium of ten member organisations, comprising two from each country and two ‘umbrella’ (Pan-European/International) organisations has been established to implement the project. The consortium will be led by the University of Huddersfield. Each country group comprises a research institution and an NGO working with prisoners and their families. The two umbrella organisations have specific roles – the Quaker United Nations Office in Switzerland will help to ensure the recommendations from the study have maximum policy impact and EUROCHIPS in France is a networking body for academics, professionals and policy makers working in this area and will enable sharing of information and further alliances to be built.

Informatiobroschüre „Kinder von Inhaftierten“ – Ergebnisse und Empfehlungen der COPING – Studie 
als pdf-Dowonload beim Treffpunkt e.v
Informatiobroschüre „Kinder von Inhaftierten“ – Ergebnisse und Empfehlungen der COPING – Studie

Konferenzbericht: COPING Konferenz Brüssel  6 November 2012
Konferenzbericht: COPING Konferenz Brüssel 6 November 2012

Beteiligte Zentren:
UK: University of Huddersfield and Partners of Prisoners Support Group
Germany: Dresden University of Technology and Trefft-Punkt
Romania: Universitatea Alexandru loan and Alternative Sociale Association Cuza
Sweden: Karolinska Institute and Riksbryggan
Other consortium members: Quaker United Nations Office, Switzerland (Pan-European/International NGO) and EUROCHIPS, France (Pan-European/International NGO)

Leitendes Zentrum:
University of Huddersfield, Centre for Applied Childhood Studies, UK