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About Carolyne Willow

Carolyne Willow, a former child protection social worker and longstanding children’s rights campaigner, is Director of a new charity, Article 39, which fights for the rights of children living in institutional settings. Her book, Children Behind Bars, is published by Policy Press.


Articles by Carolyne Willow

This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

England’s bonfire of children’s rights

A new bill threatens decades of carefully drafted laws designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in care.

How many children are sexually abused in prison?

In England nobody is counting. How official secrecy and obfuscation on sexual abuse, restraint and injury put children at risk. See also Five more arrests and another critical inspection report for G4S child prisons.

Five more arrests and another critical inspection report for G4S child prisons

Children tell inspectors of being verbally, physically and sexually abused. See also How many children are sexually abused in prison? 

When a children’s home is one more stop on the road to prison

New research adds to weight of evidence in the UK that looked after children are being criminalised.

A safe place for children? G4S pays for “independent” report on Rainsbrook prison

  • The world's largest security company shows how to undermine a rigorous and shocking account of racism and degrading treatment at a child prison. 

The sex abusers guarding Britain’s most vulnerable children

“They look at you like you’re a dog, making you strip is bang out of order.” The final shocking extract from Children Behind Bars.

Mothers and sons. On children who have died in UK prisons

Joseph Scholes and Adam Rickwood died within weeks of being placed in penal institutions. Carolyne Willow met the boys’ mothers, and tells their stories in her shocking book, Children Behind Bars.

Prison, a treacherous place for a child

Thirty-three children have died in English child prisons since 1990. A powerful new book exposes how Britain’s most vulnerable children are routinely damaged by the state. 

Children suffer racist abuse and ‘degrading treatment’ by guards high on drugs at G4S Rainsbrook prison

G4S appoints “new leadership” at Rainsbrook: the man in charge when Gareth Myatt, 15, was restrained to death, the man who told an inquest he hadn’t read the restraint manual.

Many thousands of children stripped naked in custody. Ignites memories of being raped

  • • Children routinely strip-searched in England & Wales child prisons and secure children’s homes despite government pledge to stop
  • • Nearly half were of Black or ethnic minority background, some as young as 12
  • • Serco’s Ashfield child prison, holding 400 boys, stripped 399 boys-a-month

Let's respond to England's riots with decency, not by demonising our children

A tiny minority of children in England took part in last week's rioting across some of the nation's major cities. Let's not let the riots further demonise our young people in the eyes of politicians and the general public

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