Parliamentary committee calls for children’s commissioner

A joint committee of MPs and members of the house of lords has
called for a children’s commissioner for England.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has also made sweeping
recommendations on children and the criminal justice system. In its
tenth report published last week, it urged that – 

  • the age of criminal responsibility is increased from 10 to
  • that the government should devote more resources to devising
    alternatives to custody for children, and to rehabilitative
    opportunities for children in custody
  • children in custody should have the same statutory right to
    education as other children, including access to special needs
  • responsibility for children in custody should be removed from
    the prison service and they should instead be the responsibility of
    a separate organisation with respect for children’s

The committee also recommended that the government outlaws
smacking by abolishing the defence of “reasonable
chastisement” for parents accused of assaulting their
children. The UK should also  withdraw its  reservation to the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to nationality and
immigration, it says.

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