With the upcoming Scottish Elections, and our newsletter focus on the Year of Childhood, it is a good time to revisit the comprehensive From Scotland’s Young People: Scottish Youth Parliament Manifesto 2021-26 that was published late last year.

The issues inside the manifesto come directly from the concerns raised by 12-25 year olds across the country. By sharing their views, young people are helping to inform Scotland’s political parties on what changes Scotland’s youth would like to see in the next Scottish Parliamentary term. The manifesto presents detailed insights about the issues that matter most to young people, especially those who are hard to reach and whose lives may have been affected disproportionately by the pandemic, to amplify those voices and ensure they are heard by those in power.

Manifesto pleas in the report that are of particular interest and relevance to community safety local and national partners are:

  • Children and young people’s rights should be at the forefront of decisions made during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery process.
  • Public bodies should work with young people to ensure that information is made available in a youth-friendly and accessible manner. They should also ensure that young people’s views are taken into account when making decisions that affect them.
  • Local youth work should be invested in by national and local government and protected by law from budget cuts.
  • There should be a dedicated fund for initiatives to educate, prevent and address LGBT bullying and discrimination in schools.
  • Children and young people from seldom heard groups (such as immigrants and refugees, gypsy traveller communities, single parents, disabled people, Armed Forces, care experienced and justice experienced) must be listened to by policy makers on issues that affect them.
  • Hate crime law should be improved to ensure all groups at risk are equally and consistently protected.
  • There should be mandatory training for those working in education and health care settings on how to identify mental health problems and provide support for all young people, especially those most at risk.
  • Drug misuse should be treated as a public health issue and should be tackled by: 1 – Decriminalising the possession of illegal drugs, such as through the provision of safe injection rooms 2 – Investing more in support services for those affected by drug misuse
  • In order to protect young offenders and young people who have a family member in prison, newspapers and other media outlets should be prevented from publishing the address of a person who has been sentenced in Court.
  • Young offenders up to the age of 18-years-old should not be imprisoned, and rehabilitative alternatives to detention should be put into practice.
  • Anyone experiencing homelessness should receive support and shelter, and therefore, the ‘Housing First’ policy should be introduced across Scotland.
  • The United Nations Convention on the Protection of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) should be fully brought into Scots law to protect the rights of disabled children and young people, ensure access to independent living, support those with invisible disabilities and reduce stigma.
  • Anyone experiencing homelessness should receive support and shelter, and therefore, the ‘Housing First’ policy should be introduced across Scotland.
  • The right to food should be upheld in Scotland by creating a fair, healthy and sustainable food system that is accessible to everyone.
  • Funding for sports and leisure facilities and programmes should be protected from budget cuts and supported through a dedicated COVID-19 recovery fund to ensure all young people can continue to participate in activities, regardless of where they live or their household’s income.
  • The Scottish Government should encourage and provide funding to local councils to work with young people with disabilities to design and maintain more accessible parks.
  • Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government should provide funding to support initiatives which make it easier, cheaper, and safer for young people to use active and sustainable travel options.