Together presents evidence to UN Committee against Torture

Date: 17th May 2019
Category: Equal protection from violence, Restraint, UN Convention Against Torture (CAT), Child justice system


On 6th May, Together presented oral evidence to the UN Committee against Torture, highlighting key concerns around the strip searching of children and young people, inappropriate placement in detention and mental health provision.

The statement was made in advance of the UN Committee’s formal review of the UK’s rights record on 7-8th May, and highlighted issues raised by Together and its member organisations in an earlier written submission.

Key issues raised before the Committee included:

  1. Strip-searching of children and young people: between 2017-18 there were 788 strip searches of children following their arrest, 96% of which found nothing. Strip searches invade children’ dignity are highly distressing and can re-traumatise already vulnerable children. Together called for a review on their use.
  2. Inappropriate placement in detention: an increasing number of children and young people are being turned away from secure care due to centres being full, and are then placed in Young Offenders Institutions. Together was clear that there must always be a secure care places available for the extremely vulnerable young people who need them.
  3. Mental health provision in detention: highlighting the increase in suicides of young people in detention and raising questions around accessibility and appropriateness of mental health support. 

Together also supports wider calls made by the delegation from the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, which included EJ Carroll and Katrina Lambert who, at 18 years old, were the youngest people to ever address the UN Committee. Together fully supports their calls around the age of criminal responsibility and the use of restraint and seclusion in Scottish schools.

The UN Committee’s Concluding Observations and recommendations were published on 17th May 2019.