Age Assessment: A Technical Note


Date of publication:  01 Jan 2013 Authors:  Laura Brownlees Publisher:  United Nation Children's Fund Publication type:  Report / Study / Data

The technical note is a basic guidance to Country Offices on how to deal with age assessment issues and procedures. It aims to provide Country Offices with an overview and checklist of the essential standards that an age assessment procedure should meet, and to offer a more detailed commentary and analysis of the rationale of those standards and safeguards. Guidance commentary: Standard 1. Individuals should only be requested to undergo an age assessment when it is considered to be in the best interests of the child. Standard 2. Age assessments should only be initiated if serious doubt about the child’s age exist and as a measure of last resort Standard 3. Age assessments should be applied without discrimination Standard 4. Informed consent must be sought from the child before the assessment commences Standard 5. An unaccompanied or separated child should have a guardian appointed to support them through the age assessment procedure Standard 6. Assessments must follow the least intrusive method which upholds the dignity and physical integrity of the child at all times and be gender and culturally appropriate Standard 7. Where there is a margin of error this should be applied in favour of the child Standard 8. Age assessments should take an holistic approach Standard 9. Children should be given relevant information about the age assessment procedure Standard 10. A right of appeal should exist should the child wish to contest the outcome of the assessment Standard 11. Age assessments should only be undertaken by independent and appropriately skilled practitioners

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