The Competition has closed.

Thank you to everyone who took part and a huge well done to the winners.

Since 2010, throughout the month of June, COPE runs an annual pan-European campaign entitled “Not my crime, still my sentence”.

This year’s campaign to raise awareness of children with an imprisoned parent builds on COPE’s previous work creating and disseminating ‘It’s Time to Act’, the child-friendly version of the Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)5 concerning children with imprisoned parents.

‘It’s Time to Act’ was created in order to allow children themselves to become aware of and understand the Recommendation’s articulation of their rights.

This year’s campaign aims to help children engage with these rights in a meaningful way.

To achieve this we are working with COPE to encourage children and young people to choose one of the selected 10 articles from the Recommendation (see below,) and encourage them to draw or paint a visual representation of the article they choose.

Children and young people will be asked to write one or two sentences explaining why the article they chose to represent is the most important article for them.

If they are comfortable using their real first name, they will be asked to sign their name, if not they can make up a name. It would be really great if they include their age.

Once children and young people have completed drawings or paintings based on the articles of the Recommendation, they will be asked to take photos of their artwork and send these photos to Families Outside

We will send the originals or photos of artwork and explanations to COPE, who will use the artwork to create postcards, with the artwork on one side and the short explanation from the child or young person on the other side. COPE will then send these postcards to European Members of Parliament who are members of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights, as well as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

To enter the Families Outside Art Competition, and for your chance to win:

  • 1st Prize – A Kindle Tablet
  • 2nd Prize – £25 Gift Voucher
  • 3rd Prize – £15 Gift Voucher

Follow the instructions below and submit your artwork by Tuesday 30th June 2020

Instructions for children and young people

  1. Read the 10 articles below
  2. Choose 1 article that is the most important to you
  3. Draw or paint the article as you imagine it
  4. Write 1 or 2 sentences about why you chose this article, why is it important to you?
  5. Sign your first name and write your age (or make up a name)
  6. Take photos of your artwork and your sentences
  7. Send the photos to and, if possible, post the original to: COPE Art Competition , Families Outside, 17 Gayfield Square, EH1 3NX

The Articles:

  1. When a judge is thinking about sending a parent to prison, they should think about how this can change things for each child, their rights and what is best for them. If possible, the parent should be given a sentence in the community instead of going to prison, especially if they are the child’s main carer.
  2. When a parent goes to prison, they should be put in a prison close to their children.
  3. When arresting a parent, the police should, if possible, make sure children are not there. If a child is present during an arrest, police should be sensitive and try to make sure not to upset them.
  4. Parents in prison should be able to leave prison to be with their children on special days like birthdays, first day of school and when children are in hospital.
  5. The people in charge at the prison should give information and support to children about how to contact and visit their parents, as well as about important prison rules. Children need information they can easily understand — in different languages if needed.
  6. Every prison should have child-friendly waiting and visiting rooms; where children feel safe, welcome and respected (for example with toys, books and equipment for all ages). The visits space should be good for play and quality time including physical contact with the parent. There should also be the choice of having visits outside but near the prison, so children and parents can spend time together as if they lived in the community.
  7. The people in charge should make sure that everyone follows the rules about helping children stay in touch with their parent in prison using technology such as video calls, phone calls, internet, etc. These forms of contact should not cost too much and parents in prison should be helped to pay for them if needed. This type of contact should never replace face-to-face visits between children and their parent in prison.
  8. To help protect children from the difficulties of visiting a prison, to prepare them for their parent’s return and to have their parent present at special events, prisoners should be given home leave. This is especially important just before a parent leaves prison, as this will help the prisoner become an active parent again and make things more normal when they get out of prison.
  9. A baby can stay with their parent in prison if it is good for them and if the rules say they can. This should be decided for each baby. Babies in prison must not be treated as prisoners, they have the same rights as all children and where possible they should have the same freedoms and opportunities.
  10. All prison staff should be trained to know about children’s rights and what they need to do to make sure children feel safe and comfortable at all times when visiting a 4 parent in prison. Prison staff should know how to support parents in prison and their children and how to make visits and searches child-friendly.



We use cookies. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies.