Journal Article

The Sound Of Silence: Listening to What Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Children Say and Do Not Say

Ravi K. S. Kohli

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 5, pages 707-721
Published in print July 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch305
The Sound Of Silence: Listening to What Unaccompanied Asylum-seeking Children Say and Do Not Say

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Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are noted at times to be silent or circumspect about their origins and circumstances when faced with authority figures, including social workers. Using some key ideas from ethnography and narrative therapy, this article examines existing literature on silence in the lives of unaccompanied minors, and on how the choices they make about talking and not talking can hinder or facilitate resettlement. It then describes a small research study within which interviews were undertaken with local authority social workers to elicit their responses to unaccompanied minors in such circumstances. These revealed that practitioners understood the children’s silence in varied ways, and that they could be practically helpful, therapeutically minded and reliable companions, accompanying the young people towards resettlement, with or without knowing the detailed ‘truth’ about their past

Keywords: Unaccompanied asylum seeking children; refugee children; silence and secrets

Journal Article.  7057 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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