Unicef UK publishes a comparative study exploring the role of child rights impact assessment (CRIA) in supporting governments to protect and promote children’s rights, setting out recommendations for action in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
We found that CRIA can be powerful tools that both serve the best interests of children and provide them with a voice in adult-dominated processes, preventing potential harm and minimising the risk of costly policy failures and mistakes.
Most policies have some level of impact on the lives of children, and there have been welcome developments throughout the UK in recent years to improve the way in which governments take children’s rights into account when making law and policy. However, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its 2016 examination of the implementation of children’s rights in the UK, called for the UK State Party to introduce “a statutory obligation at national and devolved levels to systematically conduct a child rights impact assessment when developing laws and policies affecting children”, and to “publish the results of such assessments and demonstrate how they have been taken into consideration in the proposed laws and policies”.
It is our hope that this study, in distilling emerging practice and experiences from other countries, will support the further development of CRIA across the UK, and encourage the momentum needed to embed this transformative agenda for children’s rights.