Manifesto Maze

Our Manifesto Maze outlines some of the barriers children and young people come up against when trying to exercise their rights. We know that some children and young people find it more difficult than others to navigate their way through the maze— but Scotland's politicians can help.

Based on our work with children and young people – and what they’ve told us is important to them – we’ve identified barriers they face in their lives. We want politicians to let us know that they plan to support us in working towards solutions. With their help, we can ensure that all children and young people across Scotland are able to fully enjoy their rights and find their way.

Download our Manifesto Maze.

Key issues

Educational Attainment and Poverty

When you’re a child or young person living in poverty, it’s more difficult to do well at school.

We think that:

  • all children in Scotland should be able to reach their full educational potential.
  • homework clubs, in-school access to computers or tablets and low-cost school trips can all help redress the balance for children living in low-income families.
  • ensuring pupils have a voice and can fully participate in decision-making at school is also key to improving attainment levels for all children and young people.

Access to Justice

When you’re a child or a young person, it can sometimes be difficult to access legal advice and assistance when you need it.

We think that:

  • all children and young people should be able to access civil legal advice and assistance when they need this.
  • having access to this can mean the difference between a child being heard or not.
  • this is particularly important where a child’s parents are in dispute and the child is caught in the middle.

Equal Protection

When you’re a child, you don’t have the same legal protection from assault as adults.

We think that:

  • all children have the right to live their lives free of violence.
  • the defence of a ‘justifiable assault’ against a child should be removed.
  • parents should be supported to find non-violent alternatives to physical punishment.

Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

When you’re just 8 years old in Scotland, you can be held criminally responsible for your actions.

We think that:

  • all children in Scotland under the age of 12 should not be held criminally responsible for their actions.
  • the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 12, in line with the current minimum age of prosecution.
  • raising the age of criminal responsibility beyond 12 should be a longer-term aim.

Protecting Children and Young People from Austerity Measures

When you’re a child or a young person, services you need can be reduced or even disappear.

We think that:

  • all children and young people should know that the services they use will not be disproportionately affected by austerity measures.
  • current spending on children and young people’s services across Scotland should be analysed in order to form a clear baseline.
  • future budgets should then be ‘poverty-proofed’ to ensure that children and young people are not unfairly targeted by cuts.

Ensuring all Children and Young People’s Rights are Respected in the Law

When you’re a child or young person, your needs won’t always be taken into account when new laws are being made.

We think that:

  • All children and young people should be confident that Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments (CRWIAs) will be carried out for all new policies and legislation likely to affect them.
  • These assessments should be published so that the positive and negative effects on children and young people can be recognised and any problems addressed as early as possible.
  • Scotland should work towards the full incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in Scots law.

Ensuring Policies and Legislation Respect Children and Young People’s Rights

When you’re a child or a young person, you won’t always have a say in decisions that affect you.

We think that:

  • All children in Scotland should have the right to contribute to decision-making processes.
  • Almost all barriers to communication can be overcome. Adults should not make assumptions about who can and can’t contribute.
  • Children should have the right to feedback and to know how their views have been taken on board.