The thousands of children who witness the arrest of their parents during police raids rarely receive social or psychological support, a charity has claimed.
As many as 80,000 children see a parent arrested every year and subsequently receive no support, the charity Pact reports.
The figure was obtained via Freedom of Information requests to all 39 police forces across England. Just one force said that their officers were trained to show sensitivity towards any children present in family homes during police raids. Two forces included children in their risk assessments while planning raids, but placed them in the same category as dogs and other pets.
Report author Jo Tilley-Riley explained:
“Each year thousands of children in England experience the trauma of having their home raided and searched, and watching a family member being arrested. By ignoring this, we risk casting these children into the strong currents of criminality – making them fear and distrust the police and leaving them scared and angry.”
One mother recalled the effect of a dawn raid on her young daughter:
“She still has nightmares that are so bad she wakes up trembling and shaking. We were offered no support by the Police or other agencies. I know the police have a job to do and I know that my husband is where he should be, but my daughter didn’t ask for any of this.”
Pact – the Prison Advice and Care Trust – provides a range of support to the families of prisoners.
Read the report, entitled Collateral Damage, here.
Image by Ray Forster via Flickr