The experience of having a mother, father, brother, sister, other family relative or even a friend go to prison can be incredibly traumatic for a child. Families Outside works with children and families affected by imprisonment across Scotland and has done so for the last 25 years. With our awareness of the difficulties these often marginalised children face, Families Outside has produced My Diary aimed at addressing the difficulties experienced by young children in such distressing circumstances.
As a consequence of imprisonment, children with a family member in prison can become isolated from their community, including school, and may become the victims of bullying or display bullying behaviour themselves as they struggle to manage their anger and confusion. These children are more likely to have problems at school, with increased risk of school exclusion and disengagement from education. Often children are not told what is happening, which is confusing and worrying, or they are asked to keep it secret, which puts an enormous strain on them.
Children affected by imprisonment suffer from serious mental health issues at up to three times the rate of other children and are at higher risk of offending and, therefore, of ending up in prison themselves. The experience of a family member’s imprisonment puts children and young people at a serious disadvantage and makes engaging positively in society extremely challenging.
For copies of the diary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.