[United Kingdom] State of Children's rights report outlines systematic failures to protect children in England

20 Mar 2019
Source: 
Eurochild

A new 2018 report reveals how national and local government is failing to protect children in England whilst policymakers focus on Brexit, leaving children traumatised, powerless and vulnerable to abuse in many areas of their lives. The State of Children’s Rights in 2018 report includes new data gathered using Freedom of Information requests showing that:

  • Local authorities are making use of a legal loophole to house families in B&B accommodation for longer than the legal limit. 1,641 families with children were housed in council-owned B&Bs and hotel-style accommodation in 2017, almost two thirds (1,056) for longer than 6 weeks, which is the maximum time councils are allowed to house families in private B&Bs.
  • Increasing numbers of children and young people are being housed in independent accommodation which can include B&Bs, hostels, and even tents and caravan parks, many of them for long periods. At least 1,173 children were housed in independent accommodation for longer than 6 months in 2017, including 19 children aged 15 and one aged 14.
  • Police use of Tasers against children is increasing, with 871 uses in 2017 and 839 in the first 9 months of 2018. Tasers were used on children as young as 12 and on 4 occasions children under 10. Tasers were used disproportionately against children from BAME backgrounds, with BAME children accounting for 51% of Taser use (68% by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)).
  • The use of spit-hoods is increasing year-on-year as more police forces roll out their use. Spit-hoods were found to be used on children as young as 10, with at least 47 uses on children in 2017 and 114 incidents in the first nine months of 2018, although the true figure is likely to be much higher. Across the whole period requested for 2017 and 2018, BAME children accounted for 34% of spit-hood use nationally and 72% of MPS use.

The report finds little evidence of progress on children’s rights issues over the past year, suggesting that a focus on Brexit is reducing government’s ability to address issues such as rising exclusions from school, mental health problems and child poverty. This means children’s basic needs and development such as their right to feel safe and be protected from abuse, have a roof over their head and play are being side-lined.

Read the full report here!

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