Scottish Parents' Survey 2021 - children's rights: results

Findings on children’s rights from Scottish Parents’ omnibus survey children and families analysis 2021.

1. Introduction

This report presents the findings on children’s rights from a survey of parents in Scotland in 2021. Questions covered awareness, knowledge views on the rights of children, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Policy background

The Scottish Government continues to recognise, respect and promote children’s rights. These include the right to be treated fairly, to be heard and to be as healthy as possible. Our vision is a Scotland where children’s human rights are embedded in all aspects of society - a Scotland where policy, law and decision making take account of children’s rights and where all children have a voice and are empowered to be human rights defenders.

In March 2021, the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill (‘the Bill’) with the aim to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law to the maximum extent of the Scottish Parliament’s powers. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in October 2021 that sections of the Bill went beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament, the Bill cannot receive Royal Assent in its current form. The Scottish Government is urgently and carefully considering the most effective way forward for this important legislation. It has indicated that the preferred approach is to do this by returning the Bill to parliament via the ‘reconsideration stage’. In the meantime, the majority of work in relation to implementation of the UNCRC can proceed and is continuing at pace.

To deliver their vision of a Scotland where children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled, the Scottish Government has published a 3 year action plan. This includes a commitment to co-create a national awareness raising campaign for children’s rights with children and families and produce a wide range of information and guidance resources aimed at raising public awareness.

Parents and families, communities, local and national governments, and organisations which work with children and families, all play a critical role in helping children understand and experience their rights.


The Scottish Parents’ survey is a telephone omnibus survey run by Ipsos MORI Scotland. It is a representative survey of parents of children aged 0-17 in Scotland, weighted by age of the parent, working status, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)[1] classification and the age of the child.[2] The survey took place between 1 November and 2 December 2021 and 1,004 parents responded. It asked parents six closed questions and two open questions on the topic of children’s rights.[3]

Socio-demographic variables included in the survey were: age of selected child; respondent age, gender, working status and qualification; household type and income; number of children in the household; rurality; and SIMD. Due to small sample sizes within demographic sub-samples, it is not possible to report all breakdowns. This report therefore only reports demographic findings that are both meaningful and statistically significant at the 5% level. Additionally, numbers may differ between figures and text due to rounding.

Analysis and reporting was undertaken by the Scottish Government, Children and Families Analysis Unit.



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