Austerity measures are threatening children’s human rights, says report

A new report from human rights group, Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), has warned that the UK is struggling to meet the standards set by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, due to its austerity measures.

The ‘State of Children’s Rights in England’ report has revealed that the reduction in public sector  budgets has led to a cut in the number of people safeguarding children and placed additional pressure on children’s services, putting young people’s rights at risk.

The report also identified a particular lack of financial and practical support for disabled children and their families, meaning that many disabled children were not being properly supported to go to mainstream schools and were excluded from local services and recreational opportunities.

It went on to say that the austerity measures had caused more youngsters to enter the criminal justice system, which impacted on their later life.

The CRAE also criticised the Government’s refusal to place an early intervention duty on councils and warned that protected budgets were seeing a reduction in real terms, despite the numbers of children requiring services continuing to rise.

CRAE director Paola Uccellari said: ““Children’s rights are the basic things children need to thrive – the right to an adequate standard of living, to an education, to be cared for and to play.

“Children’s rights should act as a safety net – meaning children always receive minimum standards of treatment whatever the changing economic climate.

“You cannot escape the conclusion that austerity and cuts to vital services are threatening children’s human rights.”

“Cutting these services is short-sighted; it will have a long term impact on children and society.”

The articles of the UN Convention identified as most under pressure in the report, include hearing the voice of the child in decisions that affect them, states help to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their duties and protection from all forms of violence.

Action for Children chief executive Sir Tony Hawkhead said the findings were a “sad indictment” of the current circumstances.

“The plight of our children appears to be worsening,” he added.

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