Committee on the Rights of the Child reviews the report of the United Kingdom
In the ensuing dialogue, Committee Experts expressed concern about the possible repeal of the 1998 Human Rights Act as it was feared that the new Bill of Rights would weaken the protection of children’s rights. Experts were very worried about the increase in child poverty, which was up two per cent during the 2008-2012 period, while budget decisions made between 2010 and 2015 had shown that, despite some progressive policies and the apparent commitment of the Government, families with children had lost more as a result of the economic policies than those without children. The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 repealed much of the 2010 Child Poverty Act and abolished child poverty targets for government and local councils. It was noted that the best interest of the child was not a primary consideration in all legislation and policy making, in administrative and judicial decisions concerning the children, nor in the asylum and immigration decision-making in relation to families and separated children. Experts also discussed the high incidence of domestic violence and violence against women and girls; the continued discrimination against minority children, especially Roma, Gypsy and travellers, migrant children and children born out of wedlock; lack of a consistent definition of the child in the United Kingdom’s legislation, between different laws and different jurisdictions, and the low age of criminal responsibility; and the impact of funding cuts on access to health services, including mental health services particularly for poor and vulnerable children.