Getting it Right for the Children of Wales

25th Anniversary of the United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Dr Anne Crowley
Associate , CASCADE & Cardiff University
Wales achievements and
priorities for the next 25 years
• A rights-based approach
• Celebrating achievements
• Devolution an exercise in doing things differently
• Wales on the international stage
• Priorities for the next 25 years
Human rights are universal legal guarantees
protecting individuals and groups against
actions (violations) and omissions (failures)
that affect their freedom and human dignity
Celebrating Wales Firsts
1st to ban smacking in all early years settings
1st to include children in the definition of domestic
1st to appoint a Children’s Commissioner
1st to embed the Convention on the Rights of the
Child in law and policy making
Children’s rights: a priority for the 1st
decade of Devolution in Wales
• Waterhouse
• Proportions of women in the Assembly
Children’s Commissioner
Adopt the UNCRC (2004)
Rights to Action (7 Core Aims)
Child poverty – a Fair Future for our Children
Minister for Children
Cross-cutting Cabinet Committee
State of Children in Wales report (Children’s Well-being Monitor)
Reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2008
Equal Protection for Children
• Christine Chapman Short Debate in 2002
established the Assembly’s opposition to corporal
• Opportunity for legal reform in 2004 embraced by
Welsh politicians in London as well as Cardiff.
• Funding of work to educate and support parents
in using alternative methods of disciplining
Wales’ achievements celebrated on the
international stage
• UK government report to the Committee on the
Rights of the Child (2007)
• Wales’ position mentioned in the Committee’s
Concluding Observations (2008)
• Wales’ commitment to ban smacking noted by the
Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human
Rights (2008)
• Funky Dragon, Wales Youth Assembly promoted
as an example by the UN Committee on the
Rights of the Child (2009-2014)
“It really is one of the things that struck me
immediately … is just how many people
have signed up to come here today to talk
about children’s rights and like you I think
that that wouldn’t have happened 5 years
ago, so there clearly is some sort of cultural
shift happening and I just hope that it
continues. …….The report itself I think is
brilliant, it’s one of the best reports I’ve
seen for a long time” (Peter Clarke,
Children’s Commissioner for Wales).
“I intend, as Minister for Children, and
Chair of the Cabinet Committee for
Children and Young People, to personally
oversee the preparation of the Wales
Report” (Jane Hutt, Welsh Assembly
All Change?
• October 2011– First Minister confirms the Assembly has
legislative competence
October 2011– Motion urging the WG to bring forward
legislation is adopted by the Assembly
February 2014 – AMs reject an amendment to the SSWB
(Wales) Bill
November 2014 – Committee’s report on the Genderbased Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence
(Wales) Bill
Tuesday – agreed to set up a cross-party Committee to
examine reforming the law on smacking. “to come up with
well evidenced and well thought through proposals.”
Priorities for the next 25 years
Change the law to provide equal protection for children
Time to
(Re) establish structures at the heart of government that
focus attention on realising the rights of children in Wales
Take it
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