Age assessment practices: a literature review & annotated bibliography

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UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund

Age assessment refers to the procedures through which authorities seek to establish the chronological age of an individual and is applied in a variety of contexts and for a number of different purposes. The age of separated children is a pivotal factor in determining the initial reception arrangements that will be offered the applicant. Across Europe in those cases where the authorities consider that the stated age is not credible they carry out an age assessment. This discussion paper reviews literature on age assessment, particularly relevant in environments where not every child has a birth certificate thus making the assessment and identification of a child’s age very difficult. Some of the literature reviewed does not relate specifically to the issue of age or age assessment, but it has been included because it provides a useful context to understanding some of the contentions surrounding the issue of age assessment, and the many different views that can be brought to bear on the issue of childhood, age, rights and responsibilities.

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