Wellbeing of Children and Young People
8. We will take steps to improve the wellbeing of children and young people. In particular, we will look at:
Using our national guidance Respect for All – the National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People we will improve the recording and monitoring process for incidents of bullying in schools; and we will provide new guidance for all school staff on how to deal with incidents of racist bullying.
We set up a working group to develop a standard approach to recording and monitoring incidents of bullying in schools. A support group is now helping local authorities to put this in place by August 2019.
respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service, provides support for all those working with children and young people on how to deal effectively with bullying. We provided funding to LGBT Youth Scotland to work together with respectme to produce a resource and deliver seminars for teachers to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
We have also funded Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) to produce similar guidance for schools to address bullying based on race.
Equality and Discrimination was a theme of the YoYP. Events this year have included an Interfaith Summit and Refugee Festival Scotland (coordinated by the Scottish Refugee Council).
As part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Strategy we are working with Education Scotland on an Improving Gender Balance programme. This aims to tackle the persistent under-representation of girls in STEM subjects and challenge perceptions and unconscious assumptions about who does what job.
We are providing funding to LGBT Youth Scotland to deliver a programme of work that aims to reduce the discrimination experienced by LGBTI young people. This includes working with schools and education authorities on inclusive education, tackling prejudice based bullying, LGBT History Month and implementing the LGBT Charter.
Also, we have accepted the recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group and will now work with partners on taking this forward in schools within this parliamentary term.
The Equality Act 2010 is largely reserved (and can only be changed by the UK Government) but we can promote equal opportunities within our own Scottish devolved powers in other ways that don’t involve changing laws which are reserved.
We are considering some of the concerns raised by young people and have also met with the organisation Retailers Against Crime.
The Independent Care Review has started its ‘Journey’ stage and will focus on a number of important areas, including ensuring the rights of children and young people are upheld and respected while they are in, and leaving, care.
The first report, published in June 2018, sets out what corporate parents all across Scotland are doing to support looked after children and care leavers as well as feedback from young people on the difference it makes.
We have developed a wide range of recommendations on improving the support for children and young people in care, as part of our National Review of Foster and Kinship Care Allowances, published in September 2018. We are developing a response with COSLA, due in the new year.
We have developed an Avatar of a child ‘Sophie’ who lives with her Granny (in kinship care) and used her to discuss how different policy areas across government can contribute to addressing and supporting her needs.
c) Period poverty
We agree that it is not acceptable that people in Scotland are experiencing period poverty, which is why we are making sanitary products available in schools, colleges and universities from autumn 2018. We intend to consider carefully whether to take further action to address this, taking account of the growing body of evidence.
We met our commitment to provide free sanitary products for those at school, college and university from August 2018 – investing over £5 million between August 2018 and March 2019.
We also announced in the Programme for Government 2018-19 that we will “increase the number and range of places where sanitary products are available for those who need them”. We are talking to public sector organisations, including local authorities, to agree funding to support this and will encourage private sector organisations to do the same.
Finally, we are funding FareShare to increase the number of places that people on low incomes can get free sanitary products. This is expected to reach almost 19,000 people.
d) Mosquito devices
We do not have the devolved powers to introduce a ban on mosquito anti-loitering devices. These powers are reserved to the UK Government which is not seeking a ban/restriction. However, we do not support their use.
Young Scot carried out a survey for us on young people’s views on mosquito devices. It showed that young people don’t think that mosquito devices are fair. But it also showed that most young people completing the survey had never heard of a mosquito device or come across one.
The former Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs wrote to the UK Government to highlight the lack of available evidence on the use and impact of mosquito devices. She also wrote to the Health and Safety Executive to ask them to update their research on mosquito devices but they declined to carry this out. Finally, she wrote to private organisations to encourage them to support us in not using the mosquito device.
We wrote to all local authorities and key public organisations stating that we do not support the use of mosquito devices. All local authorities have confirmed that they do not use the device.