To inform inform its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rightsof the Child (UNCRC), Children in Scotland hosted a children’s rights discussion day with 20 children and young people aged 8 to 21 from across Scotland.
Who needs to learn about children’s rights and why?
The children and young people were clear that rights awareness needs to be universal. Emphasis was placed on rights awareness within education settings. The young people felt that rights awareness needed to extend to community level. This would mean reaching beyond those with children and young people in their job title/remit. The following groups were highlighted:
- Children – “Because it is their right”
- Teachers – “So they can protect them”
- Parents – “to know if their children are being supported”
- Politicians – “they can enforce them”
- Duty bearers – “to enforce them”
Significant emphasis was placed on the role and responsibility of duty bearers in receiving training on children’s rights:
“(Training should be) compulsory for duty bearers at all levels within the organisation, regardless of whether their work is with CYP or not. For example, Head of NHS, paediatric nurse and NHS cleaner should all receive training.”
Policymakers and decision-makers were highlighted as groups that should be required to have training because of the effects that decisions can have on children’s rights:
“Decision-makers and policymakers need to know about the UNCRC so they can assess the impact of decisions on children’s rights.”
What should rights awareness training cover?
Members of the group were clear that a minimum level of knowledge about children’s rights was required.
“How these rights can be enforced – why these are needed.”
“What to do if they aren’t getting their rights met.”
“Awareness and people make sure rights aren’t infringed.”
Rights awareness and the curriculum
They felt that children should have an understanding and awareness of their rights. Embedding children’s rights into the curriculum and integrating rights into general teaching was suggested.
“CYP need to know about their rights so that they can speak out when they are not being upheld.”
Children and young people also felt that they should play more of an active role in rights awareness:
“Should use lessons as a forum to feed in all year.”
“Move from just teaching about it to finding out how children think their rights are being met.”
“When decisions being taken there should be hustings to find out what people think.”
Children and Young People’s Participation
Children’s participation in decision-making was viewed as fundamental to fulfilling and upholding children’s rights and they should play a significant role in the development of a Children Right’s Scheme.
“incorporation of UNCRC from CYP, and CYP have the right to be heard in decisions that affect them.”
Engagement with young people needs to be
Read their suggestions for ways to engage and support children and young people with their rights here.
Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments (CRWIA)
The CRWIA was considered an opportunity for policy/decision-makers to carefully think about the impact of their decisions at the national and local levels. We heard that CRWIA could help decision makers
“to think beyond their budget silo.”
It was suggested that CRWIA should be
for duty bearers and an area for consideration for other groups working with children and young people. It was highlighted that CRWIA do no focus on articulating to children the impact a policy or decision could have on their rights:
“Yes (they should be used) but might not show children how their rights are being affected.”