The BBC had an interesting article about a joint report from the children’s commissioners that says that British children are being “demonised” by a society that is locking too many of them up:
The joint report by children’s commissioners for all parts of the UK said attitudes towards youngsters were hardening across the country. The experts said crime committed by children had fallen between 2002 and 2006, but the numbers criminalised had gone up by just over a quarter. Their conclusions are part of a United Nations review of standards in the UK.
In their document, the commissioners said most children were happy and that policy-makers were trying to improve the situation. They added that too many children were being put through the criminal justice system and the poverty experienced by one in three youngsters was unacceptable for a rich nation. The experts said more children were scared in their neighbourhoods and, citing previous studies, drank more alcohol, had deteriorating mental health and felt more pressure at school than their European peers.
The report attacks the use by some shop-keepers, businesses and local authorities of the Mosquito teen deterrent … While ministers had not endorsed Mosquito, the commissioners said they had also done nothing to ban technology which indiscriminately affected those within its range.
It is great to see the commissioners doing their job and not just being involved in the usual ‘strategic’ thinking, and funding meetings, but to hear them reporting, advocating and defending the rights of our children. An interesting parallel is how does the church ensure that it advocates on the behalf of children and young people? How do we ensure that we encourage and defend them – not just in the classic sense of a Safe to Grow policy policy, but in the supporting and developing them in their community.