Children (Scotland) Bill: equality impact assessment

Details of the equality impact assessment (EQIA) carried out in relation to the Children (Scotland) Bill.

Stage 1: Framing

Results of framing exercise

The Family Law Unit met with colleagues from the Directorate for Children and Families for the purpose of the framing exercise of the consultation of the Review of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. The consultation led to the Bill.

The Family Law Unit also spoke separately to Justice Analytical Services and Education Analytical Services.

The framing exercise suggested that the following groups of people might be affected positively by areas in the Children (Scotland) Bill.


  • Legislative proposals in this area will affect children.
  • Removing the presumption that only children aged 12 or above are mature enough to be able to form a view, which is aimed at ensuring that the views of younger children are heard, would affect children under 12.
  • Evidence shows that contact centres are used primarily for facilitating contact with children under the age of 8. Therefore, any regulation of contact centres will directly affect more children under the age of eight.
  • Provisions in Bill are also more likely to impact on adults of parenting age.


  • The Scottish Government has received anecdotal evidence that children with disabilities are less well heard by the court than children without disabilities.
  • Stress can have a negative impact on a person's mental health. There is evidence that parties find family cases in court stressful[1]. Options to ensure the views of the child are heard, improve court procedure, protect children and victims of domestic abuse and improve the Children's Hearings System may help reduce the stress of court cases.


  • Domestic abuse, which disproportionately affects women, is a significant issue in family cases. Understanding of domestic abuse is developing, with coercive control now recognised as a significant issue.
  • The pursuers in family cases are more often men than women. A point regularly suggested to us in correspondence is that court decisions in family cases are made in favour of women. Although the court must make decisions based on the welfare of the child, some stakeholders would like to see courts starting from a shared parenting perspective.

Pregnancy and Maternity

  • The Scottish Government are not aware of any particular issues in relation to pregnancy and maternity.

Gender reassignment

  • The Scottish Government are not aware of any particular issues in relation to transgender children and transgender parents in contact and residence cases.

Sexual orientation

  • Lesbian, gay or bisexual children are more likely to experience bullying and mental health issues and that stress may be a particular issue for them in the court process.
  • The Scottish Government has received no information to suggest that same sex couples are disadvantaged in the court process.


  • People who have English as a second language may be at a disadvantage in understanding the court procedure and proceedings.

Religion or belief

  • Some faiths may have different approaches to equality of the sexes and to family matters in general.
  • A child's beliefs may be different from the child's parents (or the parents may hold different beliefs) and this may be a source of conflict.

Marriage and Civil Partnership

  • This protected characteristic only needs to be considered in relation to policies about work, such as HR policies.

Extent/Level of EQIA required

Following the framing exercise, the Scottish Government believes that the extent of the EQIA required was high. A draft EQIA was included in the consultation on the review of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

A Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) has been prepared separately and will be cross-referred to in this EQIA.



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