Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment

An image of a playing piece in a game jumping over another playing piece, beside a quote from Abigail (15) that reads: "Life-changing decisions being made during coronavirus have felt like playing a game. Every time it should be our turn, someone skips over us and we end up left behind and forgotten."

It’s clear that the coronavirus pandemic and Scotland’s response to it has had an enormous impact on children’s human rights.

In order for the Government to comply with its obligations in international and Scots law, it has to assess the impact of those decisions on children before making them.

But there hasn’t been enough work done on what that impact looks like.

Although the Scottish Government has published Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments on some of the legislation passed around the pandemic, it is important that these assessments are done thoroughly and that they cover all law and policy that affects children.

So we worked with the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland to conduct an Independent Children’s Rights Impact Assessment.


Adults in power often make decisions that affect people― such as laws and policies. When they do this, they don’t always think about the impact these decisions will have on children and young people.

A Children’s Rights Impact Assessment, or CRIA,is a way to include children and young people in a decision. It looks at the ways the decision might affect the rights of children and young people― both positively and negatively.

By doing this, it means people know what the effect of the decision on children and young people is likely to be.

What makes up the Impact Assessment?

The Independent Impact Assessment is made up of nine different Impact Assessments by experts on how children and young people’s rights have been affected in specific areas. These are summarised in the webpages below, which together make up the young person’s version of the report.

The nine full Impact Assessments are also included as appendices to the main report.

What needs to change as a result of this Impact Assessment?

Our office has made several recommendations around what Scottish Government and others need to change as a result of what this Impact Assessment has found. They’re changes which will help keep human rights promises to children and young people as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic, and which will safeguard their human rights in any future crisis.

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