Embedding children's rights: position statement

The report sets out the progress made in relation to children's rights in Scotland since 2016.

Annex B

Issues Raised in Parts I and II of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child List of Issues Prior to Reporting, Relevant to Scotland

Issue Topic Report References
  General Measures of Implementation  
3(a) Information on the adoption or reform of laws, policies and programmes, and any other type of measures taken, such as the creation or reform of institutions, that are significant for the implementation of the Convention, the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Examples throughout document
3(b) Measures taken to ensure the protection of the rights of children in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic, in view of the statement of the Committee of 8 April 2020 on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children. Section 1.1-1.5
3(c) Measures taken to ensure that the State party's withdrawal from the European Union, as well as the loss of related funding, do not have an adverse impact on children's rights, and in ensuring that the principle of the best interests of the child is reflected in all legislative and policy matters and judicial decisions affecting children. Section 2.1 Section 3.7
3(d) Any other information that the State party considers relevant and that is not covered in the replies to the questions below, including information on obstacles and challenges faced. Section 6.7 Section 7.27 Section 8.10 Section 9.12
4 Information on how a child rights-based approach is integrated into the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of measures for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including with regard to child participation and data collection, and how such measures promote the realization of children's rights under the Convention and the Optional Protocols thereto. Section iv.
5(b) Measures taken to bring its domestic legislation in line with the Convention and ensure that the principles and provisions of the Convention and the Optional Protocols are directly applicable and justiciable under domestic law, particularly in England, Northern Ireland and the overseas territories and Crown dependencies. Section 2.4
5(c) Measures taken to establish a child rights impact assessment procedure for all legislation and policies affecting children, particularly in England and Northern Ireland, including in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 1.1 Section 2.6
5(d) Assess proposals to revise the Human Rights Act from a child rights perspective. Section 2.2
6(b) Mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the implementation and impact of policies and programmes for children's rights, including the 2009 Working Together, Achieving More strategy. Section 2.7-2.8
6(c) Establishing statutory bodies at interministerial levels in devolved administrations, overseas territories and Crown dependencies to effectively coordinate the implementation of the Convention. Section 2.7
7(a) Measures taken to incorporate a child rights-based approach into the State budgeting process, including by implementing a tracking system for the allocation and use of resources for children and assessing how investments in all sectors serve the best interests of children. Section 2.12
7(b) Ensure a transparent and participatory budgeting process by involving children and enhancing accountability in public procurement processes, including in times of emergency. Section 2.13
7(c) Ensure that children, including those in vulnerable situations, are not affected by austerity measures or regressive measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential consequences of the economic crisis triggered by those measures. Section 1.1 Section 7.29
8 Efforts to improve the collection and quality of disaggregated data for all areas of the Convention, including on violence, children in alternative care, children with disabilities, mental health, food insecurity, malnutrition,education, and asylum-seeking and migrant children. Section 2.11
9 Information on awareness-raising programmes for children and the training of relevant professional groups on the Convention. Section 2.9
10 In view of the expiration of the UK Aid strategy, please explain the measures taken to ensure that the State party's policies for international development cooperation advance children's rights, including with regard to education. Section 2.15
11(a)-(b) Measures taken to require businesses to undertake child-rights due diligence, including with respect to the environment; and establish a regulatory framework for the business sector, including in the context of public procurement, to ensure that their activities domestically and abroad do not adversely impact children's rights. Section 2.14
Definition of the Child
12 Measures taken to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years, without exception, across all devolved administrations, overseas territories and Crown dependencies. Section 2.16
General Principles
13(a) Protect all children under 18 years against discrimination on the grounds of their age, and address general negative public attitude towards children, especially adolescents. Section 3.2 Section 3.6
13(b) Conduct an independent review of the 2011 Prevent and ensure that counter-terrorism and counter-extremism measures do not have a discriminatory, racial or stigmatizing impact on any group of children. Section 3.9
13(c) Eliminate discrimination with regard to health, education, alternative care, and child justice, against children living in poverty, Roma, gypsy and traveller children, children belonging to ethnic minority groups, children with disabilities, children in alternative care, asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children, and LGBTI children. Section 3.2 Section 7.1
13(d) Monitor, receive and address complaints of discrimination against children. Section 3.3
14(a)-(c) Measures taken to address underlying determinants of infant and child mortality, including social and economic deprivation and inequality; establish mechanisms for review of unexpected death or serious injury involving children, including in custody, care and mental healthcare institutions; and address the high rate of avoidable child deaths. Section 3.10-3.11
15(a) Measures taken to ensure the right of the child to be heard, with adequate support, and that children's views and opinions are given due consideration in decisions affecting her or him in relevant legal and administrative proceedings, including those concerning domestic violence, custody, placement in alternative care, mental health treatment, education, migration and asylum. Section 3.13
15(b) Promote the meaningful participation of children, including younger children and children with disabilities, within the family, the community, school and the realm of local and national policy making and decision-making affecting children, including on climate change. Section 3.12 Section 7.6 Section 7.42
15(c) Assess the impact of reforms on legal aid in all devolved administrations and overseas territories to ensure that such reforms do not negatively affect children's access to justice. Section 3.14
Civil Rights and Freedoms
17(a) Measures taken to repeal legal provisions for compulsory attendance at collective worship in publicly funded schools and ensure that children can independently exercise the right to withdraw from religious observance at school. Section 4.1
17(b) Ensure that counter-terrorism measures, including the Prevent Strategy, do not undermine children's rights to freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion. Section 3.9
17(c) Guarantee children's right to freedom of movement and peaceful assembly, including by prohibiting the use of acoustic devices to disperse public gatherings of young people (so-called "mosquito devices"). Section 4.3
18(a) Measures taken to prohibit the use of non-statutory stop and search checks against children and ensure that their statutory use is proportionate and non-discriminatory, including by implementing the best use of stop and search scheme and providing safeguards on 'no suspicion' stop and search checks. Section 4.4
18(b) Measures taken to ensure that online learning does not infringe children's right to privacy. Section 4.2
19(a) – (c) Measures taken to promote equitable access of children to online services and connectivity; introduce online harms legislation and ensure its implementation; and enhance the digital literacy and skills of children, teachers and families and protect children from information and material harmful to their wellbeing. Section 4.2 Section 5.4
Violence Against Children
20(a) Measures taken to prohibit the use of electrical discharge weapons, such as Tasers, attenuating energy projectiles, spit hoods and other harmful devices, on children, in particular on children belonging to ethnic minority groups. Section 5.10
20(b)-(c) Measures taken to ban all pain-inducing techniques and methods of seclusion against children for disciplinary purposes in schools and in institutional settings; and address the disproportionate use of restraint against children with disabilities in schools and institutional settings. Section 5.11
21(a) and (c) Prohibit corporal punishment in all settings, including at home and in schools, across all devolved administrations, overseas territories and Crown dependencies; and promote positive and non-violent forms of discipline among teachers, staff of childcare facilities, parents and caregivers. Section 5.1
22(a) Measures to address the high prevalence of domestic violence, gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse against children. Section 5.2-5.3 Section 5.6
22(b)-(d) Measures to strengthen the capacity of relevant professionals, including social workers, law enforcement authorities and the judiciary, to address violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, against children; ensure mandatory reporting and prosecution of all cases of violence, including sexual offences, against children; and ensure child-friendly and multisectoral intervention in cases of child abuse avoiding re-victimisation and providing comprehensive support, including psychological recovery. Section 5.2
22(e) Measures to protect child victims and witnesses of violence and sexual abuse throughout legal proceedings, by ensuring that video-recorded interviews are conducted without undue delay and allowed as evidence-in-chief in court, that their views are given due weight and that they receive legal representation, compensation for damages and support from a Barnahus or similar child-centred model for children affected by sexual abuse. Section 5.5
22(f) Measures taken to tackle cyberbullying, online sexual exploitation and abuse, gang-related violence and knife crime against children. Section 5.2-5.4 Section 9.3
22(h) Prevent the recruitment of children as informants for law enforcement and intelligence bodies. Section 5.9
23(a) Measures taken to prevent, investigate and prosecute cases of female genital mutilation, forced marriage, virginity testing and violence committed in the name of honour, and ensure that child victims have access to appropriate remedies. Section 5.7
23(b) Prevent the unnecessary medical or surgical treatment of intersex children and provide adequate counselling and access to remedies for children subjected to such treatment. Section 5.8
Family Environment and Alternative Care
24(a) Allocate sufficient resources for childcare and family support to ensure that childcare services are available to all those who need it, regardless of parents' employment status. Section 8.9
24(b) Support families to ensure that both parents share the responsibilities for the upbringing and development of their children, including by encouraging the use of shared parental leave. Section 6.1
25(a) Measures to ensure the provision of preventive services, such as social protection measures for families, to prevent children from entering alternative care. Section 6.2
25(b) Prevent the arbitrary removal of children from their families. Section 6.3
25(c) Prevent the placement of children in unregulated alternative care or residential care homes without appropriate safeguards, and ensure that they have access to an independent complaint mechanism. Section 6.4
25(d) Measures to provide stability for children in care, including by retaining social workers to avoid unnecessary changes in placements, finding placements for children that facilitate contact with their biological parents and siblings, and providing specialist care to children with complex social care and mental health needs. Section 6.4
25(e) Measures to support children leaving care. Section 6.5
Basic Health and Welfare
26(a) Measures to eliminate inequalities in health outcomes and in access to high-quality health services for children in disadvantaged situations. Section 7.8
26(b) Address malnutrition, overweight and obesity among children, and assess the effectiveness of policies and programmes on child food security and nutrition. Section 7.13
26(c) Measures to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding and implement the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. Section 7.7
26(e) Measures to address the high incidence of mental illness and self-harm, and the causes thereof, in particular among girls, children with disabilities and LGBTI children. Section 7.24
26(f) Measures to ensure that children with mental health conditions have prompt access to mental health services. Section 7.21
26(g) Measures to develop therapeutic community-based services for children with mental health conditions. Section 7.22
26(h) Review the current legislation to prevent its disproportionate placement of children with mental health needs in adult psychiatric wards or police stations and ensure that the best interests and views of the child are taken into account in their mental health treatment. Section 7.21
26(i) Monitor the diagnoses of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders among children, undertake a study on their root causes, and assess the possible over prescription of psychotropic drugs in particular for young children. Section 7.26
26(j) Reduce air pollution, and inform the population about the effect of pollution on children's health and about remedial measures. Section 7.40
27(a) Measures taken to address the increasing child poverty rate. Section 7.29-7.33
27(b) Measures taken to assess the impact of recent social security and tax credit reforms on children, including children with disabilities and children belonging to ethnic minority groups, and revise these reforms in order to fully respect children's right to have their best interests taken as a primary consideration.  Section 7.36
27(c) Measures taken to reduce homelessness and guarantee children's access to adequate housing. Section 7.37-7.39
28(a) Measures taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement the State party's net zero emission law. Section 7.41
28(b) Ensure that children's needs and views are taken into account in developing policies and programmes addressing climate change and disaster risk management. Section 7.42
Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities
29(a) Measures taken to ensure equal access to quality education, including by mitigating the disproportionate impact of COVID-19, and improve attainment rates and educational outcomes for children in disadvantaged situations, including children living in poverty, children belonging to ethnic minority groups, traveller children, children in alternative care, asylum-seeking and migrant children, children with special educational needs and children with disabilities. Section 1.1 Section 1.3-1.4 Section 8.1
29(b) Monitor and address the persistent use of exclusions, in particular on children in disadvantaged situations; implement the recommendations of the Timpson Review of School Exclusion; and guarantee children the right to appeal against their exclusion and to legal aid and legal representation. Section 8.7
29(c) Measures taken to improve wellbeing and address bullying in schools, including against children with disabilities, minority children and LGBT children. Section 8.5-8.6
29(d) Ensure the allocation of sufficient human, technical and financial resources for the development and expansion of early childhood care and education. Section 8.9
29(e)-(f) Measures taken to ensure that mandatory sexual and reproductive health education includes material on sexual orientation and gender identity; and integrate human rights education into mandatory school curricula and teacher training programmes. Section 8.8
29(g) Measures taken to ensure that children with disabilities have access to and benefit from inclusive education, including by making mainstream schools fully accessible. Section 8.4
Special Protections
30(a)-(e) Asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children. Measures taken or envisaged to:
  • assess the impact of the 2016 Immigration Act, including the "deport first, appeal later" scheme, and asylum policy on children's rights and family reunification, in view of the State party's withdrawal from the European Union Dublin III Regulation;
  • expedite the processing of asylum applications and ensure that all asylum-seeking children are provided with child-friendly services and access to health care and education.
  • establish statutory independent guardians for all unaccompanied and separated children in England and Wales;
  • prevent the indefinite detention of asylum-seeking and migrant children;
  • ensure multidisciplinary and transparent procedures for age assessments that are in line with international standards, including by prohibiting visual age assessments.
Section 9.1
31(a) Measures to raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years. Section 9.5
31(b) Ensure the application of the child justice system to all children, in particular that children are not detained with adults and that it extends protection to children who were below the age of 18 at the time of the offence but who turned 18 during the trial or sentencing process. Section 9.6-9.7
31(c) Measures taken or envisaged to abolish life imprisonment for children for offences committed while they were under the age of 18 and ensure that imprisonment is used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period. Section 9.9
31(d) Ensure and support the right of children accused of crimes to effective legal representation and participation throughout the child justice process. Section 9.8
31(e ) Address the large number of children in pretrial detention and the disproportionate representation of children belonging to ethnic minority groups in custody, such as by implementing the recommendations of the Lammy Review. Section 9.9
31(f) Measures to prohibit the use of solitary confinement of children and abolish the use of segregation and isolation in child detention facilities. Section 9.10- 9.11
31(g) Measures to ensure that children in detention have access to education and health services, including mental health services. Section 9.10-11
31(h) Measures to investigate cases of violence, including sexual abuse, reported by children in the child justice system, in view of the 2019 report of the independent inquiry on sexual abuse of children in custodial institutions in England and Wales. Section 9.11
Optional Protocols
32(a)-(c) Efforts to revise its legislation to ensure that all children under 18 years are protected from all types of offences covered by the Optional Protocol; strengthen the National Referral Mechanism for identifying child victims of trafficking and exploitation, which is embedded in existing child protection procedures; protect the rights of child victims of offences covered by the Optional Protocol by establishing a clear obligation of non-prosecution, ensuring that they are treated as victims rather than criminals by law enforcement and judicial authorities, and establishing Independent Child Trafficking Guardians in all devolved administrations. Section 9.2
33(a)-(f) Efforts to ensure that the minimum age of recruitment of children into the armed forces is 18 years; recruitment practices do not target persons under the age of 18 or have a discriminatory impact on children belonging to ethnic minority groups and low-income families; the minimum period of service applied to children who enlist into the army is no longer than that applied to adult recruits; children are safeguarded from abuse, violence and harassment in particular during armed forces training; all captured child soldiers under the age of 18 years benefit from special protection under the Joint Doctrine Publication 1-10 for Captured persons; the export of arms is prohibited to countries where children are known to be recruited or used in hostilities. Section 9.14


Email: UNCRCIncorporation@gov.scot

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