Research publications

The Commissioner's office is actively involved in research that relates to the rights of children and young people and how the Commissioner can make a difference.

Our research takes the form of:

  • surveys of children, young people and adults
  • discussion with children and young people in focus groups
  • analysis of existing research, and desktop reviews.

We publish most of the research we commission.

Research publications we've commissioned from 2013 can be found below. You can contact our Information Officer Gillian if you want to access research from an earlier date.

Our publications

2017

Briefing: Involving children and young people— holiday hunger programmes in Scotland

Emilie Boettger, September 2017. Many programmes exist in Scotland that aim to reduce holiday hunger, and children and young people have a right to be involved in decision making around them. This paper examines the complexities around making sure this right can be exercised.

Read Involving children and young people— holiday hunger programmes in Scotland.

Young People’s Views on Physical Punishment: Summary findings from the Young People in Scotland Survey 2016

Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, June 2017. A summary of findings around young people in Scotland's views around physical punishment.

Read the summary findings.

Coping is difficult, but I feel proud: Perspectives on mental health and wellbeing of young carers

Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Carers Trust Scotland and Scottish Young Carers Services Alliance, February 2017. A study representing the first research in the UK to match young carers and their perceptions of their health and wellbeing against a comparable sample of other young people.

Download a PDF of Coping is difficult, but I feel proud.

See an infographic around the parts of the research that dealt with young people's views.

2016

“Living is more important than just surviving.” Listening to what children think about food insecurity

Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, Nourish Scotland and HomeStart UK, October 2016. “Living is more important than just surviving.” is a small-scale study looking at children's views of food insecurity.

Read Living is more important than just surviving.

2015

Equally protected? A review of the evidence on the physical punishment of children

NSPCC Scotland, Children 1st, Barnardo's Scotland, Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland, November 2015. This review is an update of a 2008 review of physical punishment in Northern Ireland, The 'smacking debate' in Northern Ireland: messages from research. It summarises evidence that has become available since the 2008 review about:

  • the prevalence of and attitudes towards parental physical punishment in the UK and other Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) countries,
  • the short and long term outcomes of physical punishment for health, development and wellbeing, and
  • the relationship between physical punishment and the risk of child maltreatment.

Read Equally Protected?

Evaluation of the 7 Golden Rules for Participation

Colin Duff, September 2015. Copius Consulting's evaluation of how the Commissioner's 7 Golden Rules for Participation resource has been used in practice.

Download a PDF of the evaluation of the 7 Golden Rules for Participation.

Approaches to engagement with children 0-3 years

Dr Beth Cross, September 2015. This literature review looks at theory and practice around participation with children aged under 4 years old.

Download a PDF of Approaches to engagement with children 0-3 years.

Young people and the Scottish Parliament

Ipsos MORI, August 2015. This summary report presents findings around pupils' knowledge and views of the Scottish Parliament and reporting concerns on local issues.

Download a PDF of Young people and the Scottish Parliament.

Report of the UK Children’s Commissioners to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

UK Children's Commissioners, July 2015. This joint report from the UK's Commissioners looks at whether the UK Government is doing everything it should to uphold the rights of children and young people.

Read the Report of the UK Children’s Commissioners to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

See an infographic for young people that summarises the report.

School toilets and the experiences of children and young people with a disability: the views of parents and carers

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, for Scotland's Disabled Children, Children in Scotland, Ipsos MORI, June 2015. This report, written by David Myers, Ipsos MORI, looks at the range of issues parents of children and young people with a disability or long-term health condition raised when discussing their child's experiences of school toilets.

Download the report.

Submission to the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee on Petition PE1319— Improving youth football in Scotland

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, May 2015. This submission to the Public Petitions Committee consists of:

  • a child rights impact assessment on the registration process for youth football in Scotland from a rights perspective
  • a research report exploring the views of young players.

Read the submission.

See an infographic around young people's views on youth football.

How young people’s participation in school supports achievement and attainment

Dr Greg Mannion, Matthew Sowerby & John I'Anson, February 2015. This research report draws on interviews with young people at seven schools to see if participation is associated with raised achievement and attainment.

Read How young people’s participation in school supports achievement and attainment.

Read the Ipsos MORI report that informed the research.

Read a summary of research from ScotCen that informed the research.

See an infographic for young people around the research.

2014

Learning lessons: young people’s views on poverty and education in Scotland

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People and Save the Children, June 2014. This joint study examines young people's views on how to better support young people experiencing poverty to achieve at school.

Download a PDF of Learning lessons: young people’s views on poverty and education in Scotland.

Download a PDF of the survey results associated with the report.

Children’s right to play, culture and arts: a review of article 31 in Scotland

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, International Play Association and Theresa Casey, March 2014. This 16-page review explains the importance of Article 31 of the UNCRC – the right to play and relax by doing things like sport, music and drama.

Download a PDF of Children’s right to play, culture and arts: a review of article 31 in Scotland.

Disabled children and young people’s experiences of using school toilets: Survey of Parents and Carers

Ipsos MORI, March 2014. Findings of a survey of parents and carers of children and young people with a disability or long-term health condition. Questions focused on parents’ and carers’ awareness of toilet facilities provided within schools and other educational units attended by their children.

Download the findings.

Looking at bullying and cyberbullying: mapping approaches and knowledge

Kelly Stone, March 2014. This report looks at how bullying and cyberbullying are defined, approaches to handling both in Scotland, and children and young people's views and experiences of cyberbullying.

Download a PDF of Looking at bullying and cyberbullying: mapping approaches and knowledge.

2013

The treatment of the views of children in private law child contact disputes where there is a history of domestic abuse: a report to Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People

Dr Kirsteen Mackay, December 2013. This report reviews the treatment of 155 children from 97 contact cases between parents in which there were allegations of abuse. It covers:

  • domestic abuse in private law contact disputes
  • characteristics of children
  • the extent to which views are taken and how
  • the views children express
  • contact outcomes (where outcomes are known)
  • the impact of children’s views on contact outcomes
  • the factors impacting on the weight attached to children’s views
  • the use of child contact centres (CCC)
  • key recommendations.

Download a PDF of The treatment of the views of children in private law child contact disputes where there is a history of domestic abuse: a report to Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Toilets unblocked: a literature review of school toilets

Sarah Burton, September 2013. A literature review presenting the current material on the standards of school toilets and their role in the health and well being of children, with specific reference to Scotland.

The review assesses published research on children's attitudes to and experiences of school toilets, and the impacts on their health. It highlights both gaps in knowledge and opportunities for change.

Download a PDF of Toilets unblocked: A literature review of school toilets.

It always comes down to money: recent changes in service provision to disabled children, young people and their families in Scotland

Professor Kirsten Stalker, September 2013. This report examines changes in the availability and accessibility of publicly-funded services for families with disabled children over the past two years.

Download a PDF of It always comes down to money: recent changes in service provision to disabled children, young people and their families in Scotland.

Download a PDF summary of young people's views obtained for the report.

‘No barriers to medication at school’– the administration of medicines and healthcare procedures in schools: the views of parents and carers

Kelly Stone with Sarah Doyle, August 2013. The key aim of this study was to find out the views of parents and carers of children and young people who need medication at school. It looks in particular on the impact current practice has on school and family life.

Download a PDF of ‘No barriers to medication at school’– the administration of medicines and health care procedures in schools: the views of parents and carers.

The administration of medicines and health care procedures in schools: findings from a survey of schools

Becki Lancaster, August 2013. This small-scale study explores policy and practice in schools through a survey of 300 schools across a sample of nine local authorities.

Download a PDF of The administration of medicines and healthcare procedures in schools: findings from a survey of schools.

Child contact proceedings for children affected by domestic abuse

Fiona Morrison, Kay Tisdall, Fiona Jones and Alison Reid, March 2013. Disputes over child-parent contact have become the focus of increasing policy and practice attention.

This preliminary research study examines current practices and procedures in child contact proceedings where there is domestic abuse, from a children's rights perspective.

Download a PDF of Child contact proceedings for children affected by domestic abuse.

Download a PDF of the briefing paper for the report.

Children and young people’s views on participation and principles for practice

Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, March 2013. This report presents the key findings from workshops carried out by the Commissioner's team with children and young people. It summarises what adults could think about to make sure children and young people participate in decision making in a meaningful way, and highlights what positive experiences of participation can look like.

Download a PDF of Children and young people’s views on participation and principles for practice.

Download an infographic around young people's views on participation in schools.

Ipsos MORI survey

Ipsos MORI, March 2013. A report containing the findings of an Ipsos MORI survey of secondary school pupils in Scotland carried out for the Commissioner.

Questions focused on pupils' experiences at school and their views on and experiences of school toilets.

Download a PDF of the Ipsos MORI survey.

A PowerPoint representation of the results is also available.

The great school toilet debate: GLOW meeting survey

Learning drawn from discussion on the subject of school toilets with over 900 participating primary school pupils at a national GLOW event held in February 2013.

Download a PDF of The great school toilet debate: GLOW meeting survey.