1-6 June 2010

Eurochips network launched Europe’s first awareness-raising campaign for children with imprisoned parents during the first week of June 2010. Each participating partner organised a local or national event that coincided with EPCW to raise awareness on this group of children, the challenges they face and their special needs.

Initiatives included: 

  • Carrefour Prison (Switzerland) organised an art contest for children, and is planning a new seminar on “Parenting and Imprisonment” that will take place in Geneva this October.
  • Bambinisenzasbarre (Italy) organised an exhibition of children’s artwork.
  • FFP Norway challenged all the 50 Norwegian prisons to make a special effort for children visiting prisons with their campaign called “Heart for the children”. Leaflets formed as a waffle heart (designed by an illustrator) were distributed, and prisons were asked to serve waffles to the children during the visiting period (waffles are almost like a national symbol of “cosiness” and comfort in Norway…). Prisons were reminded about their responsibility for providing suitable conditions for children, and provided a list of suggestions on how to improve the situation for children of an imprisoned parent with the slogan – “YOU can make a difference!” FFP further sent a letter to the Minister of Justice, urging him to ensure that prisons prepare child-friendly visiting conditions for children, as required in the Execution of Sentence Act.
  • The Children’s Ombudsman’s Office in Croatia organised an interactive web conference for teachers, psychologists, social workers and other professionals entitled “Better School Support for Children of Imprisoned Parents” and published leaflets with information highlighting the best interests of prisoners’ children.

Eurochips provided the unifying campaign platform and developed a special campaign design and virtual postcard to allow for participation and support.

EPCW’s main aim was to generate local/national press and serve as a pilot run for European Prisoners’ Children Week 2011. EPCW 2011 will target Members of the European Parliament to underscore that the issue of prisoners’ children is a public health issue, and that specific attention needs to be paid to the repercussions of a parent’s imprisonment on the child’s psychological development and future socialization.

MEPs will be urged to endorse a series of recommendations that aim to improve prison visits conditions for children; and will stress the need for National Observatories for children with imprisoned parents in member countries to be established. Some 800,000 children in the European Union (EU-27) have a parent in prison.

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Author: rmchristen