Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland highlight concerns about supermarkets

Date: 28th May 2020
Category: Basic Health and Welfare, Civil Rights and Freedoms, Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities

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Following reports that parents are facing criticism by members of the public and supermarket staff for bring their children to the shops, the Children and Young People’s Commissioner  Scotland wrote to supermarket Chief Executives urging them to provide guidance and training to staff.

The letter outlines some of the reasons why families may have to shop together instead of alone, including:

  • Single parent families who have no one else to leave their children with and cannot be expected to leave them alone at home.
  • Families with disabled children.
  • Families where one parent is a healthcare or key worker and the other parent may need to take the children to the shops either because their partner is working or is self-isolating.
  • Families where a parent cannot leave a child home safely, for example, with an abusive parent or one with addiction problems.

The letter also notes the reasons why children and young people may shop for food without being accompanied by an adult. For example, parents may be unable to shop for reason of disability, shielding or because of a mental health condition. Alternatively, sending an older child to the shop may avoid parents having to bring younger children with them.

Together welcomes this letter, as training supermarket staff can prevent staff from seeking explanations from parents, carers or children and young people, which may be sensitive in nature. Moreover, the letter also suggests signs be posted at entrances to shops explaining that some parents and carers may need to shop with their children and that customers abusing them or challenging their right to be there will not be tolerated. This can protect young people and children from experiencing harassment.