CRAE urges UK Government to tackle England’s poor record on children
The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) has found that increasing numbers of children in England have been let down in 2016 and denied the basic things they need to develop and thrive. Their annual assessment of what life is like for children in England finds that they are bearing the brunt of the UK Government’s spending decisions and welfare cuts.
Increasing numbers of children do not have a permanent roof over their head or are living illegally in cramped, dirty and unsafe Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs) for long periods of time. Despite soaring levels of poor mental health and self harm amongst children, sometimes with fatal consequences, very vulnerable children are not being cared for properly or kept safe during periods of mental health crisis.
Children are also experiencing poor treatment when in contact with the police – as shown by shocking new statistics on the use of Tasers, strip searching and spit hoods. Children from Black or minority ethnic backgrounds are increasingly over-represented in the youth justice system.
Other issues covered in the report include rising rates of child poverty and sexual exploitation, severe breaches to the rights of refugee children, cuts to children’s services and widening levels of health and educational inequality.
CRAE’s annual assessment draws on hundreds of sources and responses to Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) to examine how children and young people are faring in all aspects of their lives. It assesses how well England is meeting its commitments under the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which the UK ratified in 1991.
However, despite the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s warning in June 2016 that the UK is not doing enough to prioritise children, the Government has so far failed to take decisive action on their recommendations.
Louise King, Director of CRAE said: ‘Our report reveals that the UK Government has ignored the UN Committee’s urgent calls to protect the basic needs and rights of some of our most vulnerable children including those suffering from poor mental health, living in B&Bs and treated badly by the police. The Government must take immediate steps to tackle the increasing failure to protect the human rights of children in England.
CRAE is calling on the Government to introduce a child rights duty on public authorities so that when decisions are made which affect children, their rights are properly taken into consideration. This would ensure that the welfare of vulnerable children can no longer be ignored.’
Download State of Children’s Rights 2016 made up of eight briefings.
For more information email info(at)crae.org(dot)uk