A seminar from HomeStart Scotland and Parenting across Scotland, 27 August 2019
Shelagh Young, Director of Homestart in Scotland and chair for the day, introduced the seminar by stressing the importance of a rights-based approach given the Scottish Government’s move towards a human rights framework and incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots Law.
Judith Robertson, Chair, Scottish Human Rights Commission
Judith outlined the history and purpose of the human rights framework and their importance as the foundation of freedom, justice & peace in the world.
She said that the PANEL principles (a simple way of breaking down what a human rights approach means in practice) can assist in guiding our work, challenging stigma and discrimination by giving voice to those furthest away from being heard. These put families in the driving seat especially if we realise participation & accountability principles.
Karyn McCluskey, Chief Executive, Community Justice Scotland
Karyn spoke of her passion for prevention work and of how supporting families is part of this. Family support can turn peoples’ lives round and can prevent the transmission of trauma across generations. It should be based on assets rather than deficits and needs to matter when budgets are set.
Families need to know where they can access support - family support should be a universal service for all.
Morag Treanor, Professor of Child and Family Inequalities, Heriot-Watt University
Morag said we set up families to fail. Our idea of family is hugely isolated and binary. We think families should largely be self-sufficient and not need state support. Parents’ rights & children’s rights are indivisible – it’s not possible to fulfil children’s rights without supporting families. It is crucial to inform families about what children’s rights mean for families.
Poverty is a dereliction of human rights. She used an example of how low-income families are often forced to pay ten times more for a washing machine when they cannot afford the £250 initial outlay and need to use high interest pay day loans so that the costs spiral to become a £2,000 debt.
Clare Simpson, Manager of Parenting across Scotland, closed the seminar by summarising the speakers’ content and the table discussions (see below). She said that in addition to the forthcoming human rights framework the incorporation of the UNCRC offered opportunities for families to be better supported by a rights-based approach as the UNCRC puts families right at the centre of children’s rights:
“Recognizing that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding” UNCRC preamble.