The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland has called for an end to the use of hotels for children and families in the asylum system, stating that housing children in hotels ‘violates their human rights’.

The commission has released a new report that highlights how this type of accommodation exacerbates existing traumas and can have a detrimental impact on people’s mental health.

The report calls for more support for local authorities, asylum accommodation providers, and frontline workers to reduce and mitigate the harm caused to children by these potentially hostile environments.

Nicola Killean, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said: “Our starting point is always that no child should have to live in a hotel, or hotel-type accommodation – they are totally unsuitable and violate a wide range of children’s rights.”

Esther Muchena, Asylum Services Manager at Scottish Refugee Council, said: “We know the impact on children living in temporary accommodation can be severe. Children who have already been forced to leave everything they know face even more upheaval, being forced to stay in hotels for long periods of time. Sometimes people are transferred from accommodation to accommodation and children are faced with the added stress of changing schools; socially isolating them from their peers. Many of these types of accommodation have no area for children to play, do homework, eat or meet each other, and where food is provided it often isn’t suitable.

We are also concerned that the closure of hotels housing families could lead to yet more disruption and children being to moved to further temporary accommodation. We urge the government to ensure appropriate, community-based housing is provided for children and families seeking sanctuary.

Facts and figures 

90% The number of families surveyed by Refugee Action who reported being placed in a hotel that
was unsuitable for children

43 days  The average time spent by a family with children in hostel accommodation between 1 April and 30 September 2022

14 days The average time spent by a family with children in B&B accommodation between 1 April and 30 September 2022


Report testimony

“Sometimes I feel like I am in prison. I do not know anywhere around me, sometimes I take a walk to
ease the tension as there are no other young person in the hotel, I can talk to.” A child living in hotel accommodation

“It is not child friendly – there were no activities for children no one spoke to me about what my needs are, we were stuck in one place and was unable to play it was horrible. I hope my family and I never go
through this again”.  A child living in hotel accommodation

“It’s not a good place for children to be. You can’t make any decisions, you can’t decide what to eat, what they give you is what you take.” A young person living in hotel accommodation

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Gilly Furmage
Author: Gilly Furmage