Academic’s report on austerity in Europe set to influence action to protect children at risk

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The Current Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe recently considered the impact of austerity measures in Europe on children’s human rights. The Committee’s deliberations were informed by a report, ‘Championing children’s rights in times of austerity: Local and regional authorities’ responsibilities’, prepared for the Committee’s Rapporteur on Human Rights by Dr Simon Hoffman of the College of Law and Criminology at Swansea University. Dr Hoffman’s report examines how the prolonged economic crisis and austerity measures in Europe have affected social welfare programmes in many European States with an adverse impact for children in areas such as education, social services, housing and health-care. The report concludes that the poorest children suffer disproportionately as a result of austerity measures, with child poverty on increase, and public services intended to protect children from harm under threat across Europe. In his report Dr Hoffman makes a number of recommendations on action by local and regional authorities in Europe to safeguard children against the impact of austerity. Amongst the recommendations in the reports is a call to prioritise services for children at risk of discrimination and to take steps to maintain budgets for children’s services, especially those in greatest need. These recommendations, and others in Dr Hoffman’s report, were adopted by the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in October. Congress has called on local and regional authorities across Europe to do the same and has urged European governments to do more to protect children against the adverse impacts of austerity measures