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Children's rights

We want to make Scotland the best place in the world for a child to grow up. Recognising, respecting and promoting the rights of children and young people is essential to achieving this.

We are taking steps to ensure that children experience their rights, as determined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), on a daily basis.

These steps include:

  • implementing the UNCRC across Scotland and reporting on our progress to Parliament
  • using the Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) to ensure that our policies, measures and legislation protect and promote the wellbeing of children and young people

The UNCRC

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) sets out the fundamental rights of all children and young people. The UK ratified the UNCRC in 1991.

We are using the UNCRC as a framework to ensure that we consider children's rights whenever we take decisions, and to help guarantee every child a good start in life with a safe, healthy and happy childhood.

It forms the basis of our national approach for supporting children, called Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC).

We have produced guidance to help children and young people understand the UNCRC.

Monitoring our progress

Our progress is monitored by the UNCRC through a regular reporting cycle, in which the UK has to respond to issues set out by the UN Committee. We have published our response to the UK's list of issues, submitted in March 2016 for a review in May 2016, and the UNCRC's concluding observations.

We set up the Scottish Children's Rights Implementation Monitoring Group (SCRIMG) in partnership with The Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights) to discuss progress on implementing the UNCRC in Scotland and related issues.

From 1 April 2017, all public authorities must also report every three years on the steps they have taken under Part 3 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 to implement the UNCRC. The first reports are due in 2020.

The 2018 Ministerial report to the Scottish Parliament under Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 will report on progress achieved in relation to children's rights since 2015 and plans for the subsequent three-year period up to 2021.

Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA)

We designed the CRWIA approach to support Scottish Ministers in meeting their duties under Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and in relation to the Articles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The CRWIA helps us to assess whether our policies, measures and legislation will realise children's rights and help protect and promote the wellbeing of children and young people.

The CRWIA can be undertaken as part of a joint impact assessment (alongside an Equality Impact Assessment, for example) provided that:

  • there is cross-referencing of issues relevant to each impact assessment
  • outputs are published separately

CRWIA guidance

We have made the CRWIA approach available for public bodies and children's services to adapt for their own use. Guidance documents are below:

For additional information: see the Children's rights legislation in Scotland - quick reference guide.

Contacts