Mainstreaming of Children’s Rights – Examples of Key Initiatives Taking Forward Children’s Rights
1. Responsibility for taking forward children’s rights is mainstreamed across all portfolios within the Scottish Government. The principles of the UNCRC are, therefore, already taken into account in the development of relevant Scottish Government policies, strategic frameworks, action plans and other key documents, covering all areas relating to the health and wellbeing of children and families.
2. It is not proposed that the Action Plan will duplicate all of the actions being taken forward in these other Scottish Government initiatives. Rather, to fully capture and represent all that Scottish Ministers intend to achieve in relation to the rights of the child between 2018 and 2021, we suggest that the Action Plan includes a non-exhaustive list of these strategic documents. A number of these are included below. This is not a comprehensive list but provides an illustration of the wide range of initiatives and activity being taken forward:
Child Protection Improvement Programme Report
and Child Protection Systems Review Report
The Child Protection Improvement Programme report sets out 35 Actions covering children’s hearings; leadership and workforce development; inspections of children’s services; neglect; data and evidence; child sexual exploitation; child internet safety; and trafficking. The Systems Review report makes 12 recommendations, covering Initial and Significant Case Reviews, Child Protection Committees, the Child Protection Register, and matters of leadership, governance and accountability. Progress is being monitored through the National Child Protection Leadership Group, chaired by the Minister for Childcare and Early Years.
National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children
and Young People
The Action Plan sets out specific actions under three broad aims – giving everybody the skills, knowledge and understanding to help children and young people stay safe online; inspiring safe and responsible use and behaviour online; and creating a safer online environment. A progress report will be published in 2019.
A Fairer Scotland for All: Race Equality Action Plan
The Race Equality Action Plan outlines actions being taken over the course of the Parliament to make real improvements in the lives and experiences of minority ethnic communities in Scotland as part of the 15 year Race Equality Framework. The Plan seeks to advance race equality, tackle racism and address the barriers that prevent people from minority ethnic communities from realising their potential. A progress report will be published in 2021. A Programme Board has been established to oversee the implementation of the Action Plan, with membership drawn from senior levels across the Scottish Government.
Equally Safe - A Delivery Plan for Scotland's Strategy
to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls
The Delivery Plan sets out the actions the Scottish Government, COSLA and partners will take to prevent and ultimately eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls ( VAWG), including the impact for children and young people. The Delivery Plan includes a range of actions relevant to children and young people, including prevention within schools and ensuring more effective, trauma-informed support for children and young people affected by VAWG. Progress on the specific actions in the delivery plan will be reported annually.
Every Child, Every Chance - The Tackling Child Poverty
Delivery Plan 2018-22
The Delivery Plan, backed by a range of investment, including the £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund, sets out the action we will take to make progress towards Scotland’s ambitious child poverty targets, set for 2030. Its actions are organised in two ways: actions to make progress on the three main drivers of child poverty (income from work and earnings; costs of living; income from social security); and actions that take account of the need to help families in other ways, to improve their lives in the short term, and work closely with our partners to deliver our ambition. Annual Reports will be published on the progress being made against delivery of the actions within the Plan and against the targets set. The first progress report is due for publication in 2019.
Justice in Scotland: Vision and Priorities
The Vision and Priorities document, agreed jointly by the Scottish Government and key justice organisations, sets out collective priorities to ensure a just, safe and resilient Scotland, with established priorities for 2017 to 2020. The document focuses specifically on prevention and early intervention, drawing on the successful youth justice reforms and the Whole System Approach for young people at risk of offending. The Justice Vision and Priorities is accompanied by a Delivery Plan that sets out actions to help progress the priorities. This Plan will be updated annually with the first report on progress scheduled for September 2018.
Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027
The Strategy sets out a central vision for Scotland where people can get the right help at the right time, expect recovery, and fully enjoy their rights, free from discrimination and stigma. It sets out 40 actions organised under 5 key headings: prevention and Early Intervention; access to Treatment and joined-up, accessible services; the physical wellbeing of people with mental health problems; rights, information use, and planning; and data and measurement. The plan includes a range of specific actions relevant to children and young people, including the commitment to develop a matrix of evidence-based interventions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. A specific reporting process for the Strategy is in place and is being developed further.
A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Our Delivery
Plan to 2021 for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities
The Delivery Plan has five long-term ambitions and 93 actions aimed at changing the lives of disabled people in Scotland and ensuring that their human rights are realised. The actions include a range of measures relevant to children and young people and supporting the families with disabled children and young people.
2018 National Improvement Framework and Improvement
Plan for Scottish Education
The National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan document is designed to help deliver the twin aims of excellence and equity in education. It serves as the single, definitive plan for securing educational improvement through six key improvement drivers: school leadership; teacher professionalism; parental engagement; assessment of children’s progress; school improvement; and performance information. Through the National Improvement Framework and the annual Evidence Report, we will build up a clear picture of progress across the key drivers and of overall progress towards our key priorities.
Respect for All: National Approach to
Scotland’s national approach to anti-bullying aims to build capacity, resilience and skills in children and young people to prevent and deal with bullying. The approach is underpinned by the values of fairness; respect; equality and inclusion. It includes an explicit commitment to addressing prejudice-based bullying. The report sets expectations for the recording and monitoring of bullying and anti-bullying activity.
Further Actions and Activity
3. In addition to the strategies and action plans listed above, a range of further activity is being taken forward that will have a positive effect on how children and young people experience their rights. This includes:
- The development by the Scottish Government, along with key partners in the public and third sector, of a 10-year Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Action Plan, which will cover both physical and mental wellbeing.
- Scottish Ministers’ response to the report Rethinking Legal Aid, An Independent Strategic Review, published in February 2018, setting out a 10 year vision for legal aid in Scotland. The report’s recommendations are currently being analysed and discussions are ongoing with stakeholders such as the Law Society of Scotland, the Faculty of Advocates, the Scottish Legal Aid Board and others in the third sector to seek their views. Once this analysis is complete, a Scottish Government response will be issued. In conjunction, the Scottish Government is looking at children’s legal aid with the aim of identifying possible improvements to the current system.
- The current progress through Parliament of a Scottish Government bill to raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility in Scotland.
- Lord Bracadale’s Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation was published in May 2018. Ministers accept the report’s recommendation to consolidate all Scottish hate crime legislation into one new hate crime statute. We will use the report and recommendations as the basis for consulting on the detail of what should be included in a new Hate Crime Bill.
- Scottish Ministers’ support for John Finnie’s proposal for legislation to remove a current defence for parents, guardians and other persons with charge or control over children and provide children and young people with equal protection from assault.
- The Scottish Government is running a consultation on the Review of Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and creation of a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy. The consultation covers a wide range of issues that affect children including how best to obtain the views of the child in family cases, support for the child, the role of family members and how victims of domestic abuse can best be protected.
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