COPE schools posters in 7 languages
“Many prisoners and their families feel isolated. Organisations that assist them run the risk of being isolated also. Being part of an international network like COPE is supportive; hearing about other ways of working is refreshing and educational.”
At Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE) all hands are on deck for the 2017 edition of our pan-European campaign “Not my crime, still my sentence”. This year, thanks to your generous donation towards the concrete and attractive campaign materials on offer, over twenty COPE member organisations are taking part from across eleven different countries in Europe.
Over the next few weeks we expect to receive feedback from over 100 schools across Europe who have not only received the awareness-raising posters you helped fund, but who have also been offered support and training by our member organisations on the ground in order to help them meet the varying needs of children affected by parental imprisonment.
Participating in an international campaign with shared messages and goals can boost and motivate organisations supporting children and families of prisoners on the ground, who may otherwise feel cut-off from others.
“Not my crime, still my sentence” offers a practical way for members to connect with other organisations across Europe, to share ideas, good practice initiatives, and to advocate with a more powerful voice on behalf of children affected by the imprisonment of a parent. Linking 85 members across Europe and beyond, the campaign not only shows the similarities in children’s experiences across borders, but can also be motivating for the service providers supporting them.
No one is better placed to promote the rights and needs of children affected by parental imprisonment than the children themselves. COPE’s Dutch partner Exodus Nederland has worked with children and young people with imprisoned parents to develop a list of ten wishes:
We very much wish…
- to feel safe at home during the arrest of our parents
- that information would be immediately made available to us, such as where to get support
- that we could visit our parents without difficulty
- that prison officers were friendly and considerate
- that we could get in touch with our parents when we need them
- that we had someone to share our thoughts and sorrows with
- that our teachers knew and understood what it means for us to have an imprisoned parent
- that social workers and probation officers would not only talk about us but with us
- that we were not stigmatised or excluded because of our imprisoned parents
- that municipalities and social workers would look after us, even if we are not yet registered at social services.
Children with imprisoned parents and their specific needs are at the centre of COPE’s work. Recent research studies like the EU-funded “Coping project” have helped us to understand the universal needs, but it is important to remember that each child is unique, and responds differently. Even in the same family we see different reactions among siblings to the imprisonment of the same parent. Some children seek anonymity, others peer support. Case-by-case analysis and support are therefore the ideal, and reassurance for children that there is no one correct way to feel or react. We aim to help children through their individual experiences without systematising or normalising the response. We accompany children throughout the journey of their relationship with their imprisoned parent.
And we would like to thank you for accompanying us.
Children of Prisoners Europe
Stay in touch with us via our newsletter and social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget, our fundraising page is still open, and we can always use your support in order to reach even more children affected by parental imprisonment. So if you know of anyone who might be interested in supporting us via a donation, please do pass on the link! https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-2-1m-children-of-prisoners-in-europe-cope/
Support for children of prisoners