Host Organisation: Harrow Law Centre

Naomi Trewinnard

Naomi joined Harrow Law Centre in January 2020 as a Justice First Fellow. With a double degree in English and French Law (L.L.B/Maîtrise) from the University of Leicester and the University of Strasbourg respectively, Naomi holds a Masters degree in Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law from the University Panthéon-Assas, Paris II. She completed the LPC via distance learning course with the University of Law.

Throughout her studies, Naomi volunteered as an appropriate adult with Leicester Youth Offending Service, and later as a legal advisor in Immigration and Asylum Law with La Cimade and Le Cèdre in Strasbourg and Paris. Following an internship with the UNHCR representation to the European Institutions in Strasbourg, Naomi continued working as a legal advisor in Immigration and Asylum Law with a local housing association in Strasbourg. She went on to work as a Senior Project Officer for the Children’s Rights Division at the Council of Europe. During this time, she managed several projects in the areas of: ending immigration detention of children, enhancing access to rights through child-friendly information for children in migration and ending online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Project

LASPO 2012 significantly reduced the scope of legal aid, excluding many cases faced by vulnerable individuals who are left to represent themselves before Tribunals and public authority bodies without crucial specialist legal advice. These cuts affect individuals at every level of society and can have far-reaching effects on children and young people (CYP).

CYP living in Harrow are increasingly facing situations such as:

  • School exclusions,
  • Various forms of violent crime including knife crime and hate-crime,
  • Local authority decisions to house families out of borough which may lead to CYP having to change school and consequently lose their friends and support networks,
  • Illegal evictions,
  • Domestic violence,
  • Living with precarious immigration status,
  • Poverty linked to precarity for families relying on foodbanks, finding themselves placed in temporary accommodation for long periods and relying on welfare benefits.

To stand-up for their rights, CYP, and their adult support networks, must be aware of those rights, how to recognise a violation and the options available to remedy such violations. Access to early legal advice can also limit the harm caused and in the best-case scenarios even prevent these injustices from taking place.

Where legal aid is available Harrow Law Centre provides advice and advocacy in the areas of immigration, housing, welfare benefits and assistance to victims of crime. Given the narrow scope of legal aid funding, Harrow Law Centre is also committed to helping those who fall outside this scope. Harrow Law Centre represents at benefits and immigration tribunals, housing courts and provides advice to EU nationals about their rights to stay in the UK and access public services after Brexit.

To empower CYP to become actors for their rights, Harrow Law Centre will start a new project in the context of the Justice First Fellowship. This project will work directly with CYP for example in selected schools and sixth-form colleges to address the issues that are of concern to participating children. The outcomes of the project will feed into the advocacy work of the Law Centre.

Implementing arrangements

Harrow Law Centre will implement this project in co-operation with local partners, including schools and sixth form colleges. Project activities will include information evenings to raise awareness among parents and teachers, workshops for CYP to explore their rights and a final report to convey the findings and opinions of the CYP to decision makers.

CYP will be included in planning the topics to be discussed during the workshops as well as the key messages they would like to give to decision makers. By encouraging active participation in advocacy and awareness raising, this project seeks to empower CYP to become actors for their rights.

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