On 3 June 2021, the Czech Helsinki Committee representatives attended the Children of Prisoners (COPE) online conference „Mitigating Uncertainty for Children: From pre-trial procedures to the COVID-19 pandemic.“
The webinar explored uncertainty and its impact on children. For children, the experience of having a parent in conflict with the law can be associated with feelings of great uncertainty. This uncertainty can be particularly intense during pre-trial detention procedures, as children often do not have accurate information about parents‘ whereabouts. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to visit during prison lockdowns have significantly intensified anxieties for children.
During the conference, speakers highlighted research and how this uncertainty can compound the effects of trauma and toxic stress already experienced when a parent is in conflict with the law. Participants further discussed how pre-trial detention procedures can better respect children’s rights, how children can be supported to cope with uncertainty and maintain trust, and how children can be better protected through child safeguarding measures.