Commission report on child rights in Scotland

The Scottish Human Rights Commission has lodged a report with the United Nations (UN) highlighting a series of issues affecting children’s human rights in Scotland. The report has been submitted to a review taking place in Geneva today by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Read the SHRC submission in Word format

The Commission’s report draws attention to the impact of poverty, poor quality housing and inadequate access to mental health services on children’s human rights. Emerging issues are also highlighted including the impact of benefits sanctions on children, and the growing risks to Muslim children from negative media coverage and the effects of counter-terrorism measures.

Judith Robertson, Chair of the Commission, said: “Our report to the UN Committee should sharpen attention around these issues. It is unacceptable that in 2016 so many children and young people are living in poverty, in inadequate housing, and with poor access to crucial health services. Scotland can and should do better for these children, whose human rights should be respected and upheld by everyone.”

The Commission also draws attention to issues facing children affected by parental imprisonment. Around 16,500 children in Scotland have parents in prison, with a third likely to develop physical and mental health problems as a result.

The Commission also restates its concerns about the continued very low age of criminal responsibility in Scotland - currently set at just eight years old - and the continuing legality of corporal punishment of children at home.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will publish its findings on Scotland and the UK’s implementation of the UN Convention in June.


  • The Scottish Human Rights Commission is an independent public body with a remit to promote and protect human rights for everyone in Scotland. It is accredited as an “A status” national human rights institution within the UN system.
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an international human rights treaty that grants all children (everyone below the age of 18 years) a comprehensive set of rights.