Together responds to consultation on Support for Children (Impact of Parental Imprisonment) Bill

Date: 7th May 2015
Category: Children of prisoners

Together has submitted written evidence to a consultation put forward by Mary Fee MSP on a proposed Support for Children (Impact of Parental Imprisonment) Bill.

This Bill would require a court (at the time of sentencing) to have regard to the impact of parental custody upon the welfare and wellbeing of the offender's children. The consultation proposals include the introduction of a Child and Family Impact Assessment after the point of sentencing.

This Bill also seeks to ensure that children affected by parental imprisonment are provided with appropriate support and protection by the education system. Given the negative impact parental imprisonment can have on children, the proposals would include a reference to this group in the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland Act) 2004.

Children's Rights

The consultation document states that the overall approach to the Bill is that "the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) (UNCRC) should be enshrined and reflected in the proposed Support for Children (Impact of Parental Imprisonment) Bill. Articles 2 and 3 of the UNCRC are of particular relevance, Article 2 states "No child should be discriminated against because of the situation or status of their parents" while Article 3 provides that the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration: "In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration."

Together welcomed the above statements in the consultation document, and called for a Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) to be undertaken on the proposals.