Scottish Social Attitudes survey 2021/22: public attitudes to children and young people's decision making
Findings of the Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) Survey 2021/22
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This paper presents the findings of the Scottish Government funded questions in the Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) Survey 2021/22 covering how much say young people should have in decisions that affect their lives, according to the Scottish adult population (aged 16 and over). As well as presenting topline findings, this paper also explores whether attitudes varied by demographic groups.
The survey asked respondents two questions, previously asked in 2017 and 2019, about their views on how much say young people should have in decisions that affect their lives:
- “How much say, if any, should 11- to 15-year-olds in Scotland have in decisions that affect their lives?”
- “How much say, if any, should 16- to 18-year-olds in Scotland have in decisions that affect their lives?”
Children's right to participate in decisions
Participation is a key part of recognising, respecting, and promoting children’s rights, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The United Nations Committee of the Rights of the Child developed General Comment 12 which gives more information about the right to be heard (Article 12).
The term ‘participation’ is broadly used to describe a range of practice and methodologies, which enable children and young people to be heard in decision-making. It is an important mechanism to ensure that decision-makers listen, communicate, and consider the views of children and young people on all aspects of their lives. Children and young people have the right to be involved in any decisions that affect them whether that be national, local or individual, both now and for their future.
Under Article 12 of the UNCRC, every child and young person who is capable of forming their own views has the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting them, with those views being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child and young person. In particular, consideration should be given to how views will be obtained where children and young people's views are not known on a matter that is likely to have an impact on them. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.
For more information please see Guidance - Decision-making: children and young people's participation - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).
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