“Before children can recover they need to feel safe and have stability to be able to move on with their lives,” explains Graeme who is a guardian with the Scottish Guardianship Service which supports children separated from their parents. Here he tells us more about his role.
I started with the Scottish Guardianship Service two years ago and was immediately struck by the realisation that all the children and young people I would be working with did not have what many of us take for granted: a parent or caregiver who gives total affection and always watches out for our best interests. These children are literally on their own.
As a guardian, I do what I can to fill this gap, and feel privileged to do so. Many of the children my fellow guardians and I help have fled unimaginable horrors: international conflict, civil war, repressive regimes, and are deeply traumatised. Around 40% of the children we support are survivors of human trafficking, and have often been brought to Scotland from countries like Vietnam or Nigeria, for sexual exploitation or forced domestic servitude or labour. Human trafficking is not something that happens in other countries – it happens in our communities every day.
Before children can recover they need to feel safe and have stability to be able to move on with their lives. Each child who comes through our door is allocated a guardian. As one of these guardians, I help children navigate the complex asylum process and rebuild their lives in Scotland.
The Scottish Guardianship Service works with children and young people who have been separated from their parents and arrive in the UK frightened and alone. The service is run in partnership between Scottish Refugee Council and Aberlour Child Care Trust.