Falling between the gaps: findings of an evidence review


There are significant gaps in evidence about our most disadvantaged children, reveals an evidence review carried out to assess the state of children’s rights in Wales.

Dr Rhian Barrance, Research Associate at WISERD, carried out the review for the Children’s Commissioner for Wales to inform the Commissioner’s strategic priorities. The review identified key evidence gaps in some areas, such as the mental health of children, and in relation to outcomes for particular groups of children, including asylum seeking and refugee children, children in custodial institutions and disabled children.

Socio-economic factors were highlighted as having a major part to play in children’s health and wellbeing, and educational attainment. Children from areas of higher socio-economic deprivation have higher rates of infant mortality, air pollution in their local areas, exclusion from school, tooth decay and obesity. They also have lower levels of educational attainment at each Key Stage, as do looked-after children and children from Gypsy and Gypsy Roma backgrounds.

Children report high levels of racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic language, and bullying in schools. However, there are no official monitoring data on this issue. There is also a major evidence gap in respect of disabled children’s experiences of bullying.

Although the review highlighted some significant gaps in our knowledge about children’s experiences of growing up in Wales, where we do have access to information, there are some signs of progress too.

There have been improvements across a number of health indicators in Wales over the last decade and survey data suggest that unhealthy behaviours among teenagers have reduced. The latest statistics show that child poverty in Wales is decreasing and there has also been a major reduction in the number of children serving custodial sentences in Wales over the last decade.
You can read the full review on our website, The Human Rights of Children in Wales: An Evidence Review, and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales’s response to the review, here: Children’s Rights in Wales.