Invisible Children – they’re here but you can’t see them

The concept of invisible children

The idea that the children of prisoners are invisible comes from a number of international studies.

The literature from these studies (and our own, New Zealand experience at PILLARS) frequently makes the point that while children of prisoners tend to have a variety of unmet needs across social, emotional, education, health and family sectors, these are often not identified at all. Except as part of some bigger, amorphous, group of deprived or disadvantaged children.

The concept of invisible children pervades the literature. The following extract from an Australian study is typical:

Child punishment is often the other side of the coin to parental imprisonment.

This is one of those shadowy corners of the criminal justice system seldom spotlighted. In our society, prisoners are marginalised; their spouses and adult friends isolated and hidden; while their children are to all intents and purposes invisible
(Cunningham, 2001 pp. 35-36).

What do you think about invisible children?

Have you seen examples of this among the people you know? Like to tell other readers? Or would you like to make a note in the comment box below about something else?

Please do make a comment, here or on other pages of the site. We’re very interested to hear what your experience and thoughts are.

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