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New edition of Insight magazine available now

The winter edition of Insight, Children in Scotland's biannual membership magazine, is published today.

Providing a space for reflection and aiming to drive dialogue, Insight has been created for our members as a key part of our membership benefits offer and is also available by subscription to non-members.

Across the magazine, we profile the individuals pushing for progress and the projects making it possible; look critically at some of the big issues facing children, young people and families, and share new examples of best practice from across the children's sector.

In this issue Kenny Murray, new Director of Inclusion and Engagement at Who Cares? Scotland, tells us why accountability is key; Dr Lynn McNair reflects on the opportunities a later school start age could bring; Alison Watson from Shelter Scotland comments on the record number of children in temporary accommodation; and Magic Torch Comics share how sequential storytelling can help unlock literacy.

Jennifer Drummond, Editor of Insight, says:

As we approach the end of the year, the conversation continues around how to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis that is impacting so many families.

“From addressing stigma and campaigning for equality for those who are Care Experienced, to supporting those facing homelessness or dealing with childhood trauma, this latest edition considers some of the challenges facing our most disadvantaged communities.”

Insight is available for free to all Children in Scotland members, as both print and digital editions.

Click here to find out more about joining us in membership

Non-members can subscribe to receive Insight for just £10 per year (2 issues).

Click here find out more about subscribing to Insight.


Insight: Issue 3

Find out more about what's inside the latest issue. Image by Mary Buchanan

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News: New child-led research into justice in Scotland

Posted 22 April 2022, by Jennifer Drummond

Children think justice should create an opportunity to learn from mistakes and have a second chance, new research reveals.

Thinking About Justice’, which explored children’s aspirations for and understanding and experiences of justice in Scotland, found that children often felt powerless and judged, and highlighted the important role adults play in their experiences.

The research from the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) reports children’s aspirations for justice include being heard, access to support and services, and equal and better treatment for everyone.

Commissioned and funded by the Scottish Government, CYCJ worked with 32 children in online and face-to-face youth-led workshops, encouraging children to raise issues that were important to them.

Research findings

Key themes emerging from the research include:

  • Support for traditional philosphies of punishment
  • Rehabilitation as the most significant aspect of justice, with a clear recognition of underlying causes of the offending behaviour
  • The desire for a protection of the sanctity of childhood
  • The importance of trusted, respectful and child-centred relationships in ensuring a child’s access to justice is fully supported
  • The role of gender, with girls in particular feeling forced to change behaviour to avoid misogyny or gender-based violence.

Children also shared their feelings of being victims of unjustified surveillance (being watched or followed) and pre-emptive warnings about causing trouble.

They also shared a deep mistrust and dissent for formal processes of justice, viewing alternative, informal, community-based systems of justice as fairer and more effective.

Ensuring young people’s experiences are shared

Fiona Dyer, Director of the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice said:

“Building a truly rights-respecting justice system in Scotland requires an understanding of children and young people’s conceptualisation of justice, which was why we undertook this research.

“That children and young people experience justice differently to adults is not surprising to hear, given that conceptions and the implementation of justice have been almost exclusively developed and designed through the eyes and needs of adults.”

"There are opportunities for children and young people to influence change in the justice system. However, this tends to focus on aspects of the system, or processes, rather than conceptualisations of justice.

The focus on rehabilitation was encouraging, as it suggests that children may be supportive of the significant development in sentencing guidelines for young people, which prioritise rehabilitation as a central aspect of the judicial process. In addition, the children’s desire to be heard in relation to issues that are important to them has significant implications for The Promise, UNCRC incorporation, and aspirations for a rights-respecting youth justice system.

As Scotland moves further towards alternative approaches to traditional justice and punishment, it is our hope that these findings will play a significant role in improving outcomes for children and young people who come into conflict with the law, and all those affected.”

Launched on Wednesday 20 April, full research findings are available in a variety of formats including a full report, a summary animation and a child-friendly version.

Click here for more information

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News: MSPs urged to withhold consent for Nationalities and Borders Bill

Posted 22 February, 2022 by Jennifer Drummond

Organisations from across the third sector are urging Scotland to vote down the UK Nationalities and Borders Bill on the grounds that it attacks the rights of refugees, including children.

The open letter, published today and signed by organisations including Children in Scotland, calls the Nationalities and Borders Bill “an anti-survivor law, an anti-refugee law and an anti-safety law” which is harmful to survivors of sexual violence, gender-based violence and those who flee persecution.

Signed by more than 60 organisations, it highlights the lack of protection for those who are displaced, the persecuted and refugees who end up in Britain, claiming the Bill “endangers all that movements and governments have achieved for refugees and survivors of trafficking and exploitation”.

It also:

  • warns of the risk to life created by removing the UK from the Refugee Convention, and
  • attacks the government’s commitment to responding to violence against women and girls when wilfully omitting safe routes for any person, including women and children, fleeing gender-based violence.

Call to action

Signatories, including Just Right Scotland, Scottish Refugee Council, Rape Crisis Scotland, Shakti Women’s Aid, Together and YWCA Scotland, are calling for action to withdraw the Bill and for further moves to protect human rights, including for the Scottish Government to:

  • Use existing powers of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 to maximise protections for survivors of trafficking and exploitation
  • Undertake a full review of Scottish Government strategies with a view to taking action within devolved areas to prevent and mitigate harmful impacts of the Bill
  • Commit to ensuring the Scottish Human Rights Bill provides a clear and explicit commitment to upholding the rights of refugees and migrants in Scotland
  • Request the Lord Advocate provides human rights compliant guidance to Police and prosecutors on decisions regarding refugees and survivors of exploitation for how they arrived in the UK.

Click here to read the letter in full (via Just Right Scotland website)