Q:
What is a human rights guarantor?
A:

A human rights guarantor is something or someone that acts to make sure human rights promises are kept by a State.

The Scottish Parliament is able to act as a human rights guarantor by:

  • making sure human rights are properly included in the laws it scrutinises, and
  • holding duty bearers to account so that they keep their human rights promises.
Q:
What is the Council of Europe?
A:

The Council of Europe has an important role in protecting the human rights of hundreds of millions of people, including children and young people. But a lot of those people don’t really know what it is.

It often gets confused with the European Union, but it’s a completely different institution. 47 States across Europe are Member States of the Council of Europe, including States inside and outside of the EU.

The UK, which Scotland is a part of, is a Member State of the Council of Europe. This means it follows the European Convention on Human RightsThis is a law that enshrines certain rights and freedoms in all 47 Member States, including the UK. It applies to everyone in these States, including children and young people.

Q:
What is digital exclusion?
A:

When people create services for you to use they often assume that everyone has access to the internet all the time. If someone doesn’t, they may find it more difficult – or even impossible – to access a service, and when that happens we say they are digitally excluded. For example, a child without home internet access would be digitally excluded if they were asked to research a topic online.

Two common ways in which Scotland’s children and young people are digitally excluded are:

  • because of the cost of internet and devices used to access the internet
  • because of the poor availability of broadband in many rural parts of the country, especially in the Highlands and Islands.
Q:
My parent is in prison and I can’t visit them because of Coronavirus. What can I do?
A:

The Families Outside helpline is open on weekdays from 9 to 5 and can give you support and information while prison visits are suspended.

Being able to keep in touch with your parents is important for all children and young people. Having a parent in prison has a major impact on your human rights even in less unusual times. We’re calling for alternative ways to contact your parent to be found, so that the prison service respects your human rights.

Q:
How can I complain about the police?
A:

If you have a complaint about the police you can contact Police Scotland online, by post, by telephone, or in person at a police station. Information about how to make a complaint can be found here.

If your complaint is about a senior police officer you can make a complaint to the Scottish Police Authority.

If you are not happy with the response to a complaint, you can ask the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) to review the way your complaint was handled.

Q:
Where can I find support for immigrants and asylum seekers?
A:

Citizen’s Advice Scotland are registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) to give advice and assistance.

The OISC website lists the Citizen’s Advice Scotland offices on their adviser finder webpages, along with other organisations and agencies (although some of these do charge fees).

You can filter the search by location, as well as the specific type of advice you are looking for and whether to include those who charge fees.

The Scottish Refugee Council also offers advice, information and support to refugees and asylum seekers across Scotland.

Legal advice

The Scottish Child Law Centre and Clan ChildLaw may both be able to offer you advice about children’s rights.

IAST

IAST is a specialist Edinburgh City Council service which assists and advises individuals who have immigration related and ‘no recourse to public funds’ issues.

This includes asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, foreign nationals who are victims of domestic violence, some EU nationals, visa overstayers, and other people subject to immigration control.

In addition, IAST undertakes transitional integration work with people who have been granted refugee status or other forms of Leave to Remain and responds to general inquiries about EU nationals. They can also assist with some applications to the Home Office.

Q:
Where can I find out about domestic abuse and forced marriage?
A:

Scottish Women’s Aid offers confidential advice and information for both women and children and young people who are experiencing domestic abuse. Scottish Women’s Aid also has a Men’s Advice Line (tel. 0808 801 0327)

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is a 24-hour resource offering support to anyone experiencing domestic abuse as well as family members, friends, colleagues and professionals who support them (tel. 0800 027 1234).

If you wish to report a domestic abuse incident you can do so at your local police station or by using an online form. If the situation is urgent, telephone 101 and if it is an emergency, telephone 999. 

Q:
Where can I find support for children and young people with a disability?
A:

Contact provides support and advice for families with disabled children

.Kindred specialises in supporting families with complex needs. They operate a helpline and provide practical information, advocacy support and guidance, as well as a counselling service for parents whose children are in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh whether on an in-patient or an out-patient basis.

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