Children in a liberal Scotland
We will promote the rights of children wherever we can.
Our proposals on education will give opportunity and life chances to children from all backgrounds. Our increased support for schools will give children more choice about the subjects they study and raise attainment.
To take further the rights, safety and opportunities for children we will:
- Incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law by primary legislation in the Scottish Parliament and encourage the same in the UK Parliament;
- Raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12 in line with the minimum recommended by the UN;
- Ensure that the stop and search code of conduct fully recognises the unique vulnerability of children and to listen to the persuasive evidence against the introduction of a potential new search power for children based on the possession of alcohol;
- Legislate to prohibit physical punishment of children;
- Keep the Named Person legislation under review to ensure no local authorities exceed the expectation of the legislation;
- Substantially increase investment in child and adolescent mental health services to enable the step-change in prevention, early detection, range of treatment and recovery that is desperately needed in Scotland;
- Continue to offer free school meals for children in P1 to P3, and consider extending flexibility so that a free breakfast can be available instead of lunch;
- Support a review of the way in which children get access to the justice system and how their experience can be improved, for example by permitting the use of trained intermediaries to help with evidence in court.
We will take steps to help young people who have been in the care of local authorities. We will make sure that local authorities accept their responsibilities as ‘corporate parents’ to those in care, and make sure they settle young people leaving care into good quality housing and decent education, training or employment.
We will consult on changes to family law to enhance the contact rights of fathers and other family members with children.