UK children’s commissioners reflect on UNCRC implementation on occasion of its 30th anniversary

Date: 19th November 2019

The Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland – along with the children’s commissioners of Northern Ireland, Wales and England – have reflected on how the UK Government and the devolved governments have progressed towards giving every child the opportunities and protections enshrined in the UNCRC since the UK last reported to the UN in 2016.

They note that progress has been made in several areas, including improved help for children with mental health needs, introduction of new measures for tackling domestic abuse, the passing of legislation to outlaw physical punishment of children in Scotland and strengthened measures for protecting children online.

While there have been positive developments, the commissioners also outline remaining concerns and challenges, such as the negative effect of the UK government welfare reforms on child poverty, the increased demand for services for children as a result and the struggles in adequate provision of these services. In addition, the commissioners have emphasised that there are still serious deficiencies when it comes to the fundamentals of keeping children safe from violence and abuse, some children are being ill-treated in institutions meant to care for them, and others are exposed to unacceptable risks in their communities.

Specific priorities for Scotland include:

  • full, direct and urgent incorporation of the UNCRC into domestic law
  • ensuring comprehensive national guidance on restraint and seclusion of children in all settings
  • raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years old.
  • adequate mental health support for every child and young person
  • a rights-based approach to reduce, mitigate, and prevent child poverty
  • public recognition and increased support for children human rights defenders
  • ensuring child friendly justice

Read the full report.