Inhuman Responses to Distressed Children

A report on ‘apathetic children’ in Sweden is important for UK asylum campaigners for the light it sheds on a condition so far unrecognised here.

This useful report from Sweden throws light on the authorities’ treatment of children in asylum-seeking families who have developed severe depressive devitalisation (‘apathetic children’). The children become extremely distressed and gradually lose all interest in their surroundings, stop communicating, eventually stop eating and become immobile, unable to do anything for themselves and completely unresponsive. The condition can be life-threatening. Government doctors do not accept that there is such a medical condition, although children with these symptoms are frequently diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and from depression. The report was written to demonstrate that the condition exists, that it affected half of a sample of children in asylum seeking families who were studied over three months in 2011, that it is a response to traumatic events either experienced or witnessed and is exacerbated by the disbelieving and unsympathetic response of the Swedish authorities.

Read the full report on the IRR website here 

You can download the report here 

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