United Nations condemns government for treatment of children

A damning review of the government’s treatment of children
by the United Nations says the UK has made little progress in
tackling issues such as child abuse and juvenile justice over the
past five years, writes Sally Gillen.

The report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the
Child expresses deep concerns that between April 2000 and February
2002, 296 children sustained physical injuries while being

It recommends the government review the use of restraint and
placement of children in juvenile detention and solitary
confinement in prisons.

It also says it “deeply regrets” that the government has taken
no “significant” action to prohibit physical punishment of children
with the family, and recommends that it urgently implements
legislation that prohibits it.

The report is based on six hours of evidence from government
officials, who included the director of the Children and Young
People’s Unit Althea Efunshile,  to the committee at a
meeting in Geneva last month.

As a signatory of the UN Convention of the Right of the Child,
the UK must submit evidence to the committee every five years to
show how it is meeting its obligations under the act.

NSPCC director Mary Marsh said: “The UN’s report will add
to the growing pressure on the government to rethink its inaction
on children being hit.”

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