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Protecting Children’s Rights


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.

We explored the relationship between the rights holder and duty bearer. There was consideration of skills, qualities and resources a duty bearer should have in order to help protect and ensure that rights are being upheld.

Listening to children and young people

It was important for duty bearers to be authentic and show genuine interest in speaking to children and young people:

“They care about children and young people”

“…to listen to and want to meet young people.”

“should be able to ask questions without fear of judgement.”

“Kind, they like to help.”

“actions not words.”

Influence and resource

Some of the group were concerned that duty bearers didn’t have enough influence to ensure that children’s rights could be protected. Duty bearers were identified as needing:

“Political support to allow decisions to be made.”

“Influence to make things happen in the world.”

“The government doesn’t have the money to get it wrong so should invest in listening to CYP to get it right.”

Family support

Duty bearers were perceived as having a role in supporting families as a means of helping children to fully enjoy their rights.

“Duty bearer to help people through family support.”

Identifying sources of support for children’s rights

The group considered people, places and sources of support that help protect and defend children’s rights.

“Everyone in the community has a responsibility to uphold children’s rights.”

Who should children speak to if they feel their rights are not being upheld?

The young people were clear that children should be able to tell someone if they felt that their rights were not being respected. It was important for children and young people to speak to someone with whom they have a relationship and someone who

“you trust”

e.g. parents, people within the community and the police. Teachers were highlighted because of their relationship to children:

“job is to look after you.”

“Trained on how to deal with it.”

“(You) trust the people you see everyday.”

Additionally, the group indicated that charities would be able to help because they help

“children (to) protect their rights.”

Charities were perceived as being independent because:

“They are not connected to areas you have problems with.”

Defending children’s rights

The group considered different themes and ways in which rights could be better protected.

Health:

“Improve availability and standard of rural areas and help them access healthcare more easily.”

“Ensure everyone can receive care regardless of background, financies or choices.”

Leisure and Play:

“Do more lessons outside learn through play.”

“Giving children more free opportunities to take part in sport and leisure activities.”