Report on bullying recommends incorporation of UNCRC into Scots law

Date: 12th July 2017
Category: Bullying

A new report on prejudice-based bullying and harassment of children and young people in schools has included incorporating the UNCRC into Scots law as one of their recommendations for a new anti-bullying approach.

The report, entitled 'It is not Cool to be Cruel', was written by the Equalities and Human Rights Committee and discusses the impact of bullying and harassment as well as the effectiveness of different anti-bullying strategies. Evidence gathered from children and young people is included in order to highlight issues such as sexual harassment and social media and bullying.

The recommendations provided by the Committee emphasise the need to focus on 'prevention of bullying as opposed to reacting to bullying incidents', and that this requires 'creating a whole-school culture which is inclusive'. Key recommendations also include:

  • Incorporating the UNCRC into Scot Law
  • Encouraging schools to become rights-respecting-schools as part of UNICEF's Rights Respecting Schools Award
  • Training teachers in the handling of bullying incidents, children's rights, and equalities
  • Promoting themes such as commonality amongst cultures and healthy relationships in the curriculum
  • Recording and monitoring bullying incidents in all Scottish schools

Christina McKelvie MSP, Convener of the Equalities and Human Rights Committee, said of the report:

"Over the last eight months, our Committee has been listening to the voices of our children and young people, and their advocates.

"We heard some gut-wrenching and heartbreaking stories. One stark reminder of the reality faced by far too many bullied young people is that 27% of LGBT children have attempted suicide.

"But we have also heard of some inspiring and great practice going on around Scotland - and there are schools where bullying is now seen as not cool. We are trying to bottle that attitude change and roll it out across the whole country

LGBT Youth Scotland have responded to the publication of the report and welcome the recommendations from the Committee, particularly those that address training for teachers in tackling prejudice-based bullying, as many teachers have reported to the organisation that they do not feel confident in addressing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

Together welcomes the recommendations from the Committee to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law. This will ensure children's rights are placed at the heart of anti-bullying measures whilst promoting inclusiveness for all children and young people in Scotland.