Children's Society responds to Queen's Speech

By agency reporter
October 15, 2019

Responding to policies announced in the Queen’s Speech, Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: “Children and young people in this country are growing up in some of the hardest times in recent history. As child poverty grows, and key support services disappear, young people are becoming increasingly less happy with how their lives are going. Fundamental reform is needed to transform childhood, but this Queen’s speech fails to rise to the challenge. 

“A few useful opportunities are provided to address some of these issues – like domestic abuse and reform of the criminal justice system. But ultimately it does not engage with many of the biggest issues facing our young people, and will not provide the solutions needed to improve childhood now, and for future generations."

Domestic Abuse Bill    

“We welcome continued commitment to the Domestic Abuse Bill and a statutory definition of domestic abuse.  It is the landmark legislation the children’s sector and women’s sector has been waiting for, but in its current form it has a number of flaws. We are particularly concerned that children under the age of 16 who are experiencing domestic abuse in relationships outside their family will not be protected or recognised as victims of domestic abuse and this is something we are urging the government to address as it goes through the House."

Serious violence, child victims and criminal justice

“Children across this country are victims of serious crime in many ways – from sexual offences to criminal exploitation through county lines. In any victim's bill, children should be a main consideration and there must be an ongoing commitment to child victims. The current criminal justice system consistently fails to address children’s needs – from child victims of exploitation being treated as criminals, through to failures to support young people reporting crimes against them. If we are to treat children justly there needs to be a radical overhaul."

Immigration   

“The Children’s Society has consistently highlighted concerns that EU children in care, care leavers and other vulnerable children are finding it difficult to apply for the EU settlement scheme. Children with insecure immigration status are particularly vulnerable to social exclusion and isolation so it is vital they are supported in this country. We want all looked after children and care leavers from EU countries to receive settled status automatically to ensure we do not create a new generation of undocumented children.”      

“Children’s lives are continuously changing – and becoming ever harder – but government policy is standing still. We must start listening to our young people and put their needs at the heart of decision making across Government as part of a comprehensive strategy to deliver a better childhood for every child.” 

* The Children's Society https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/

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