Children who are particularly vulnerable and may have an even broader spectrum of needs and involvement in the educational process, are the children who are victims of maltreatment*. Education can act as a protective factor for these children. Some facts:
*maltreatment here is being used as an ‘umbrella’ term which contains all forms of abuse, violence and neglect, victims of poverty, and children in any way deprived of their basic rights.
Characteristics that can be seen as risk factors for maltreated children for dropping out:
a) Children that are under four years of age or adolescents, b) unwanted children and children unable to meet their parents’ expectations, c) children with special needs, intellectual disabilities or neurological disorders, d) children identified as LGBTQ
a) difficulty bonding with a newborn, b) not nurturing the child, c) having been maltreated themselves as children, d) lacking awareness of child development or having unrealistic expectations, e) misusing alcohol or drugs, including during pregnancy, e) having low self-esteem, f) suffering from poor impulse control, g) having a mental or neurological disorder, h) being involved in criminal activity, i) experiencing financial
*Statistics show that in 2017, over 1.5 million people were destitute specifically in the UK, including more than a third of a million children (JRF, 2020), and 7.8% of the population were in persistent poverty. Rising living costs, low wages and inadequate social security benefits are resulting in increasing numbers of families living on the cusp of the poverty line (Children’s Society, 2020a). CPAG (2019) expect 5.2 million children to be living in poverty in the UK by 2022. The current coronavirus crisis could push disadvantaged families into poverty if parents face job losses and falls in earnings as a result of the pandemic (Children’s Society, 2020b). A similar trend can be shown in the entire EU. In 2020, 24.2 % of children (aged less than 18 years) in the EU were at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared with 21.7 % of working-age adults (aged 18-64 years) and 20.4 % of older people (aged 65 years and over). Children were the age group with the highest at risk-of-poverty or social exclusion rates in 13 out of the 27 EU Member States.
As child poverty is reaching alarming rates around the globe, it is becoming more and more urgent to identify the struggles a student is facing when living under the state of poverty on an emotional, practical and relational level such as stigma, shame, and sense of inferiority. The workshop is designed to put participants in the place of such a student and create more inclusive and empathetic environments at school.