Statement on cross-border secure placements
Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said:
“Every child deprived of liberty has the right to be treated with humanity, dignity and in a way that takes into account their needs and best interests. It must only ever be a measure of last resort, take place for the shortest possible time, and should always be in a facility appropriate for their age.
“I have long been concerned that children from England and Wales are being sent to secure care in Scotland, hundreds of miles away from their families and friends. This important study, by Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and CYCJ, highlights the trauma and adversity that these children have endured throughout their childhoods, and the complexity of their needs.
“The UK Government’s failure to ensure adequate provision of secure care has impacts beyond England and Wales; this office has consistently raised concerns about the pressure these placements are creating on the availability of secure beds in Scotland. We have even seen situations where children have been sent to prison due to a lack of available secure beds in Scotland. This is completely unacceptable.
“Children in secure accommodation are in need of care, protection, and therapeutic support to recover from trauma and adversity, as demonstrated by the findings of this study. Children have the right to respect for family life, and they have told us about the impact of being sent far away from their families and communities without good reason.
“In the limited circumstances where children need to be detained, it’s important that they stay as close as possible to their families and communities. Placing them hundreds of miles from family, friends, and other supports, as well as the local authorities charged with their care, cannot be in their best interests.”