Young Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Information about rights and support for children who have recently come to Oxfordshire from another country, including young refugees and asylum seekers
Brightly coloured painted tin lids

A refugee is someone who has had to leave their home and country in order to live in safety. They may be threatened by war, hunger, political or even sexual discrimination. We call refugees ‘asylum seekers’ because they are seeking asylum (safety) in this country. If they are granted asylum by the government then they are given refugee status.

Take Action: Learn about Refugee Week, a unique opportunity to discover and celebrate the contributions refugees make to the UK.


Anyone aged under 18 is a child in the UK. Anyone over 18 is an adult and has different rights. Often children who are refugees or asylum seekers have lost identity documents or are not sure of their age. They are treated as a child until they have an age assessment, which decides if they are a child or an adult.

The assessments are carried out by social workers. Social workers also help keep the child safe, find them a school or college, a safe place to stay and a doctor. 

Crucial: Sometimes children are brought into the county from abroad, or from other places in the UK, to be exploited. This could include sexual exploitation or forced marriage, making the child look after, carry or sell drugs, or making the child work long hours, look after children or do housework. This is called Child Trafficking and is child abuse. You can report concerns to the Local Authority or the Police. Find out more about Modern Slavery.

A difficult time

Having to leave your home and country is a frightening experience. Refugees may have lost all their belongings and left family members behind. They may be traumatised by the experiences they have been through. As well as the support available through the County Council, there are other groups that provide specialist support and information for asylum seekers in Oxfordshire.

Help in other languages: The NSPCC has made leaflets in lots of different languages to help young people understand terms like refugee, trafficking and asylum seeker. 

Who can help?

Oxfordshire County Council's Social and Health Care Asylum Seeker Service is responsible for providing housing and support to young asylum seekers, under the age of 18, who are in this country without their family. As well as providing somewhere to live, the service helps with school or college enrolment and generally offers advice and support.

Asylum Welcome is an independent service supporting and welcoming asylum seekers and refugees in Oxford. They prioritise work with young people who are unaccompanied asylum seekers by having a dedicated youth worker, working with asylum seeking children and refugees from 13-23 years old. Their youth worker offers 1:1 support and guidance wide range of topics including education, training, careers, asylum support, welfare benefits and housing or help to resolve problems with peers or at school. They also run a weekly youth club offering food, music, games, pool, table tennis and a chance to meet and socialise. For more information get in touch with Helena: 07786074565 or check out the website.

Open Door is a small charity supported by Oxford City Council providing a drop-in service which runs out of East Oxford Community Centre on Thursdays from 11-4 providing advice, information, support, fun activities and a free lunch. 

Find out more


Posted by Polly Nuttgens
Posted ago
I am just writing because I thought that you and your networks might be interested in this amazing show that we are presenting at the Old Fire Station on Thursday 27 April by stunning new London based Music Theatre Company Erratica. It's an extraordinary piece of electro-folk drama using traditional Balkan vocal music and deep bass electronics combined with movement and archival footage. Set around the story of one woman's encounter with war crimes in Srebenica it is a deep deeply moving piece and a highly unusual and affecting experience. We felt that the content of the piece might be very relevant and resonate with your contacts. I have attached the link below that we'd be delighted if you would like to circulate along with the information above. I do hope it's of interest and thank you very much for sharing this, With best wishes Polly Nuttgens

Hello Polly,

Thank you for making us aware of this great event! If you do want us to promote an event in the future on our website we would be more then happy to help.

All you have to do is email us on

Kind regards,


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