The COPING project was a child-centred research study conducted in four European countries: the UK, Germany, Romania and Sweden from 2010-12. The project aimed to identify children with imprisoned parents, their needs, their resilience, and their vulnerability to mental health problems. COPING was led by the University of Huddersfield in partnership with research institutions and NGO’s from the UK,  Germany, Sweden and Romania. This included POPS as the UK partner.

The COPING research strategy has at its heart an emphasis on gathering knowledge directly from children and young people. The research is split into eight different work packages, including completing surveys with 250 children and 40 interviews with children of prisoners, their parents, carers and other stakeholders. The surveys conducted with children and young people in each country use the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, to ascertain coping strategies and mental health problems for these young people, which will be compared with normative population samples. The in-depth qualitative interviews explore in greater detail the impact of parental imprisonment. POPS staff and volunteers have also been involved in contacting prisons across the UK to find out about the services available to families, contributing to a European-wide mapping of supportive interventions.

Following a lot of interest in the study POPS have developed the ‘COPING Briefings’, a series of summary documents which look at how the COPING research and recommendations apply to different areas of the criminal justice system and beyond. You can download these documents below.

COPING Briefings















As part of the COPING Project representatives from POPS have travelled to Romania, Paris and Sweden to attend conferences and meet with our European partners. Children have played a prominent role in promoting the research to policy makers, professional bodies and key organisations. This has included two young people representing COPING in Geneva at the UN’s Day of General Discussion on the Rights of Children with Imprisoned Parents. This was the first time that the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child had ever involved youth representatives in its discussions. Read more about Siân and Raheel’s trip to the UN.

Find Out More

To find out more about the COPING project and its findings visit the COPING website. On the website you will also find an area specially designed for use by young people called My COPING.


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