Posted: 12 May 2016

The year ahead in Parliament

Setting out their stall

The Queen’s Speech happens once a year and presents the Government’s plan for their year ahead in Parliament. 

It offers an opportunity for the Government to commit to bills and legislation they are going to put before Parliament in the next twelve months. 

Watch our short video about what to expect in the Queen's Speech.

Many of these bills will impact on the lives of children and families we support. we will be working throughout the year to ensure Government legislation protects children and provides them with the resources they need to fulfil their potential. 

We have issued calls for Government to use this annual commitment to better protect vulnerable children.

Closing a loophole to protect homeless 16 and 17 year olds

There are potential Bills that we are expecting the Government to introduce, including a bill to prevent homelessness. 

Our previous research has found that every year an estimated 12,000 children present to their local councils as homeless, with only 2,800 accommodated, and only 1,000 of these are given the full protection they are entitled to as children. 

We are calling on the Government to close a gap in the protection available for children to ensure no child under 18 can be categorised as ‘intentionally homeless’.

Increased protection for victims of child sexual exploitation

recorded crimes of a sexual nature against 16 and 17 year olds are closed without further police action

It is likely that legislation may come before parliament in the next 12 months to improve protection for victims and put in place stronger sentencing guidelines for specific crimes. 

Our research has shown that of the 16 and 17 year olds who experience a sexual offence, around half consider this abuse not worth reporting to the Police, meaning they never get the justice they deserve and the perpetrators are left unpunished. 

The Government should use the Queen’s Speech to ensure that where a victim of a sexual offence is a child under 18 this should always be considered an aggravating factor in the offence when the perpetrator is being sentenced.

Supporting children who leave care in their transition to adulthood

care leavers are not in education, employment or training

Every year over 10,000 children leave care and go on to live independently and start their adult lives. 

The Queen’s Speech presents an opportunity to ensure greater protection for care leavers, including preventing care leavers up until the age of 25 from being sanctioned on their benefits and ensuring they live in suitable accommodation that keeps them safe. 

By Lucy Dacey - Programme staff

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