Critical Childhood(s): 100 Years of Children's Rights
3-5 July 2024 | School of Law and Social Justice Building
The European Children’s Rights Unit (ECRU) at the University of Liverpool will host an interdisciplinary conference showcasing some of the most cutting-edge work in contemporary critical childhood and children’s rights scholarship, marking the centenary of the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1924). It aims to look back, critically, at what has been gained in the hundred years since this first international declaration, and to look forward towards the priority issues that affect children’s rights at present, and in the future.
Call for Papers now open. More information can be found on the dedicated event page.
ECRU runs a fortnightly Children's Rights Lab during which we meet to discuss recent or ongoing research projects, and key developments in the field of children's rights.
If you are interested in attending these, please contact the Unit director, Dr Eleanor Drywood.
Past event highlights
Using Rights to Challenge Family Separation by Imprisonment
6 October 2023 | School of Law and Social Justice Building
Event jointly organised by the Feminist Legal Research and Action Network (FRAN), the European Children's Rights Unit (ECRU), and the International Criminological Research Unit (ICRU). Dr Shona Minson, British Academy Post Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford, gave the lecture.
In the family courts the welfare of children who are separated from their parents due to abuse, harm or neglect is the ‘paramount consideration of the court’ under section 1 of the Children Act 1989. In the criminal courts, when a parent is sentenced to imprisonment, there is no guarantee that the court will even be aware of the existence of the child. As a former family lawyer Shona was bothered by this differentiated treatment and it has formed the basis for ten years of research and advocacy.
This presentation focussed on the use of child rights to challenge family separation by imprisonment, drawing on Shona’s empirical studies of the sentencing of mothers, children’s experiences of parental imprisonment during Covid lockdowns, and access to procedural justice for women in prison whose children are the subject of family court proceedings. Shona also reflected on some ‘lessons learned the hard way’ including the challenges of ‘activist research’ which seeks to influence practice and policy, reformist/ abolitionist dilemmas when engaging in research which may be co-opted to maintain imprisonment, and how not to burnout whilst doing all of the above!
Ethics Training Workshop
21 July 2023 | School of Law and Social Justice Building
This event built upon our recent publication of a set of briefing papers which address ethical issues arising from research with children and identify strategies for ethically robust methodologies.
This event was aimed at researchers at all career stages (including postgraduate students), whether experienced in, or just thinking about, researching with children, and professional services staff involved in supporting research, or the ethical approval process.
The Impacts of Delays on Young Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers – New Insights from Legal Practice and Research
27 June 2023 | School of Law and Social Justice Building
Young unaccompanied asylum seekers continue to suffer as a result of excessive delays in the asylum process. This event marked the launch of two studies that provide in-depth insights into the extent and impacts of this problem.
Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit launched the latest follow-up study to their initial ‘Wasted Childhoods’ report exploring how delays continue to affect children in the North West in an increasingly hostile asylum system.
Researchers from the Lives on Hold, Our Stories Told (LOHST) research project also presented data from their two year study involving interviews with young asylum seekers and over 50 practitioners across England to reveal the devastating impacts of delays on young people’s mental health, access to services and vulnerability to exploitation.
Medico-Legal Regulation of Sex and Gender Identities in Childhood
23 November 2022 | Rendall Building, University of Liverpool
A workshop hosted by the Health Law and Regulation Unit, Feminist Legal Research and Action Network, and European Children's Rights Unit.
- Dr Aileen Kennedy, University of New England, presented on 'The Brain-Sex Binary in Law'.
- Dr Fae Gardland, University of Manchester, and Dr Ed Horowicz, University of Liverpool, presented on 'From Clinical to Judicial Decision-Making, and Back Again in Bell v Tavistock? Preparing for the Legacy of Court Involvement in Gender Care for Minors'.
An Uncharitable Alliance: Mermaids v. Charity Commission and LGB Alliance
11 November 2022 | University of Liverpool
In this case, Mermaids (a charity representing and advocating for transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families) challenges the charitable status given to the LGB Alliance. Mermaids alleges that ‘LGB Alliance is not actually tackling problems facing lesbian, gay and bisexual people, but rather seeking to prevent the resolution of problems facing transgender persons’.
In other words, they have an ‘anti-trans’ rather than ‘pro-LGB’ focus, with many of their campaigns particularly targeting the affirmation of the gender identity of trans children. This, Mermaids argues, is not a charitable purpose within the meaning of the relevant legislation.
ECRU Showcase Event
21 October 2022 | School of Law and Social Justice Building, Events Space
An event which brought together members of the European Children's Rights Unit to showcase recent work which covered a range of methodological and substantive questions around children's rights.
- Dr Ed Horowicz presented on 'Ethics papers'.
- Dr Nico Brando presented on the 'Children in Theory' series.
- Dr Ellie Drywood presented on 'Children Before Players, Protection, and Realising Children's Rights: A Guide for Professional Football Clubs'.
- Tilly Clough presented on 'The Priviledge of Charity Law: How the Law Maintains Elite Education'.
- Professor Helen Stalford presented on 'Do Children's Rights Make Any Difference in the Immigration System?'
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