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State of Children's Rights in England 2017

Author: Natalie Williams, Louise King, Maria Stephens, Anna Edmundson, Lianne Smith Date: December 2017

Our flagship annual report ‘State of Children’s Rights in England 2017’ assesses how well the Government is meeting its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It reveals that some of England’s most vulnerable children are being needlessly put in harm’s way because their safety and wellbeing is ignored whilst the Government is focused on Brexit. It finds the Government is not doing enough to stop children being:

  • subjected to the use of Tasers and spit-hoods by the police or locked up alone in police cells for days on end
  • forced to spend months living in squalid and overcrowded homeless accommodation that has not been vetted to make sure it is a safe place for children
  • denied timely access to desperately-needed local mental health care when they reach emotional crisis point

Encouragingly, there has been some positive progress across a range of areas including looked after and separated children, and children with mental health issues. Making Relationship Education and Sex and Relationship Education compulsory in primary and secondary schools respectively, is also welcome.

However our report shows that much more needs to be done before children’s rights are fully realised. While developments such as civil service training on the CRC and the development of a child rights impact assessment (CRIA) template are positive steps forward, children’s rights and needs continue to be largely absent from the decision making process.

Louise King, Director of the Children’s Rights Alliance says:

“Due to Brexit, the political focus is dominated by trade, the economy and our negotiations with the EU. Meanwhile little or no attention is being paid to some of the huge danger experienced by struggling families and ill-protected children who are being failed by our public institutions. Government should ensure that Ministers have a legal obligation to consider how their decisions will affect children.”

The report takes the form of eight easy-to-read thematic stand-alone briefings:

1.Executive Summary

2.Children at the Centre -The General Measures of Implementation & General Principles of the CRC

3.Poverty & Homelessness

4.Safeguarding Children

5.Immigration, Asylum & Trafficking

6.Education, Leisure & Cultural Activities


8.Policing & Criminal Justice

Read more in our press release.

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