Policies - Childen's Rights
Much has been made of the rights of children,
and children these days. Children use these words without
proper understanding of their meaning. Teaching citizenship
is fine if the children have a sufficient level of development
to comprehend rights and responsibilities go together and
they are not there to be abused in order to avoid responsibility
for their actions.
One question we would like to ask is: Who
informs children that they can only sue for wrongdoing by
the State Authorities until they are 18…who is there
to inform the children that they can take action and get their
own legal advisor to fight for their right to family life
and to not suffer degrading treatment at the hands of State
When the children’s voice is being
much more taken into account who informs the children that
the Authorities may indeed manipulate their words, ignore
them or invent them to keep mother custody at all costs or
to hide their wrongdoing?
Just tell the children that we are here
to help them avoid any such ill treatment.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights
of the Child (UNCRC) was drawn up in 1989 and gives children
and young people under 18 their own special set of rights.
On the 16th December 1991, the United Kingdom adopted the
United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This means that legally children and young
people must be treated fairly.
The UNCRC has 54 'Articles', which are
about rights to different things. The UNCRC uses the word
'children' to cover everyone under 18. All young people have
• You have the right to be protected from discrimination,
whatever your race, sex, colour, religion or anything else.
• When any decisions are made about you, your best interests
should be put first.
• All children have the right to life and to grow up.
• You have the right to say what you think, and to have
your opinion taken seriously, especially if it's about something
that affects you - like your school, family decisions or a
court case that involves you.
• You have the right to express yourself freely, and
to get the information you need and pass it on, unless this
might harm other people.
• You have the right to get useful information from
the media, but the government must protect you from any harmful
• [Articles 2, 3, 6, 12, 13, 17]
your personal rights
• You have the right to a name and a nationality. These,
and your family background, make up your basic identity. If
you lose any of these (maybe because you become a refugee),
you have the right to trace your family and re-establish your
• You have the right to think and believe what you like,
and choose your own religion, but your parents should guide
you. You mustn't break the law when saying or doing what you
• You have the right to privacy - like keeping a diary
that other people shouldn't read.
• If you are disabled, you have the right to special
care and education to help you live a full and independent
• If you belong to a minority group (because of your
race, religion or language), you have the right to enjoy your
own culture, follow your religion and use your own language.
You have the right to special protection if you're a refugee
and have been forced to leave your country because of danger.
• [Articles 7, 8, 14, 16, 22, 23, 30]
your family & home
• Your parents or guardians are responsible for bringing
you up, and the government must support them. As you grow
up, your parents or guardians should respect your ability
to understand, and encourage you to do things for yourself.
• You have the right to live with your parents, if you
want to, and to keep in touch with both of them if they separate.
• No one has the right to hurt you. Adults must protect
you from violence, abuse or neglect, and if you do get hurt,
they must do something about it.
• If you haven't got a family, you have the right to
special care - which might mean being adopted, fostered, or
living in another kind of home. If you're adopted, your wishes
and needs should be put first - not your parents' or any other
adults'. If you're 'in care', you have the right to have your
case checked regularly to make sure that you're being treated
properly. You have the right to whatever social security benefits
the government provides.
• You have the right to enough to eat, adequate clothes,
and a roof over your head. If your parents, or whoever looks
after you, can't afford these, the government should help
• [Articles 5, 9, 18,19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27]
your school & work
• You have the right to education and it should be free
at primary level.
• If you're punished at school, your dignity must be
respected. The aims of education are to develop your personality
and talents, prepare you for life as a grown-up, and teach
you to respect other people's rights. This includes learning
to respect and tolerate different ways of life, different
values, and the environment.
• You have the right not to do harmful work. Work should
not stop you from learning, being healthy, or growing up.
The government must set a minimum age for when children can
work, and make sure that you're not working in bad conditions.
• You have the right not to be sexually exploited or
abused. No one has the right to do things to your body without
your permission. Adults must protect you from prostitution
• If you're under 15, you shouldn't have to fight wars
or be in an army.
• [Articles 28, 29, 32, 34, 38]
your community & environment
• You have the right to meet other people and join or
set up your own groups, as long as this doesn't interfere
with other people's rights.
• You have the right to grow up healthy, which means
getting proper healthcare and information to help you stay
• You have the right to play, and to relax by doing
things like sport, music, drama and art.
• You have the right to be protected from drugs - you
shouldn't be forced to take them, make them, or deal them.
• You have the right not to be tortured, treated cruelly,
killed, jailed for life, unlawfully arrested or unlawfully
jailed. If you are jailed, you have the right to be kept separate
from adults, to see your family, and to get legal help.
• If you break the law, or are accused of doing something
wrong, you still have the right to be treated with respect,
get legal help, and have a fair hearing.
• You have the right to be protected from war. If you're
hurt by war, torture, or any other abuse, you have the right
to special care to help you get over it.
• [Articles 15, 24, 31, 33, 37, 39, 40]
Nearly every country in the world has signed
up and agreed to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The UNCRC is important because:
• it lists all children's rights in one document
• it makes adults see children as individuals with rights
• it applies to all children and young people everywhere
• it covers the full range of human rights.
Knowing the law and your rights at work
helps you look out for yourself and others.
Everyone has human rights. It's everyone's responsibility
to respect your rights, including the right to basics like
food, clean water, shelter, health, education, and the right
not be abused or discriminated against. You are also entitled
to have a say in all decisions that affect you.
By signing the UNCRC the UK government has agreed to respect
all of these rights and more. The UN makes regular checks
to make sure the government sticks to its promises.
The UNCRC says you have a right to be protected from exploitation
and from doing any type of work that could harm you in any
Many employers don't know the laws about
young people at work and ignore their legal obligations, such
as making sure that you're working in a healthy and safe situation.
if you're under 18
you are not allowed to work in places where
there is alcohol or gambling, where you will have to carry
heavy loads, clean machinery or work with dangerous substances.
if you're aged 16 or 17
-you're entitled to 12 hours uninterrupted
rest in each 24-hour work period.
-you're entitled to two days off every
-if you work more than four and a half hours at a stretch
you have a right to 30 minutes rest.
if you're under 16
-you can't work without an employment card
issued by your local authority.
- you can't work for more than one hour before school, at
all during school hours, before 7am or after 7pm.
-you can work up to 17 hours a week during term time, and
up to 25 hours a week in the holidays (35 hours if you are
15 or over).
- you can work up to five hours on Saturdays (eight hours
if you are 15 or over) and up to two hours on Sundays.
-you have a legal right to a break of at least one hour after
every four hours work.
- throughout the whole year, you must take at least two consecutive
weeks school holiday without working.
if you're under 15
-it's illegal for you to have a full-time
-if you're under 14
-it's illegal for you to work at all except in certain circumstances
as set out by your local authority.
It's easiest to find work through local
contacts. Ask in shops and businesses around where you live,
check out the local job centre, newsagents and local papers,
and ask people you know.
Before you start, ask about your hours,
lunch break and rest breaks.
When and how do you get paid - hourly, daily, monthly, cash
in hand or through the bank?
What about expenses? Who will pay for any special clothing
and keep it clean?
If you can't come in one day, how do you let them know?
Agree on arrangements for ending your employment - do you
or your employer need to give notice, and if so, how long?
Before accepting the job, ask yourself if the hours are realistic,
and whether the journey and work situation is safe.
Ask for written details of your employment (like a contract)
and keep that safe.
Tell the adults at home what you are doing and give them your
work contact details.
• Most problems at work can be sorted
out by talking them through with an adult you trust.
• If you're under 16, you can also contact the Local
Authority Education Welfare Service, which issued you your
Has your employer suddenly changed your
agreed work terms (like your hours, wages or conditions)?
Contact the Advisory Concilliation and Arbritration Service
on 08457 474747 or visit www.acas.org.uk.
You can also contact the Low Pay Unit's advice line on 020
7387 2910 or the Citizens Advice Bureau (find your local branch
in Yellow Pages, call 0845 050 5152 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk).
For questions about your hours and health at work, contact
the Health and Safety Executive infoline on 0870 154 5500.
Contact the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for information and
advice on employment issues. Call 0870 600 4882, visit www.tuc.org.uk
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you think you are being abused - physically, sexually,
or emotionally - tell an adult you trust straight away. If
you can't, call Childline free for confidential help and advice
on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk.
The philosophy of the Children Act 1989 is to encourage parents
to agree about their children's future welfare when they separate
or divorce by providing continuing parental responsibility
for divorced parents and by requiring the courts not to make
court orders unless it is better to do so for the child. This
approach has been underpinned by the development of mediation,
a process designed to help parents reach agreement about issues
with regard to their children - and in relation to housing
and finances too. In practice the emotional distress of adults
in family break up usually predominate and the interests of
children are all too frequently given little priority.
Children wrongly diagnosed as abused or taken
into care within the last 21 years have recently won the right
to sue the medical or health care professionals involved.
In granting the right to sue the Court of Appeal has lifted
a longstanding immunity in favour of health care professionals
and social workers. The Court of Appeal lifted the immunity
due to the passage of the Human Rights Act, 1998 which has
placed local authorities under an obligation to protect children
in line with the European Convention on Human Rights
Advisory Centre for Education
Children's Rights Alliance for England
Children's Legal Centre
National Youth Advocacy Service
Parental responsibility (PR) describes the legal
relationship between parents - and in certain circumstances
other adults - and their child(ren). PR normally lasts until
the child is 18. It is not defined in the Children Act and
contains no requirement to promote the child's welfare or
to consult the child in decision-making. The way adults exercise
their PR should reflect the evolving capacities, and age and
maturity of the child. There are a range of laws which give
children rights at different ages. In practice, young people
at 16 are relatively independent.
The Children Act 1989 does not require parents
or others with parental responsibility to consult their children
or to take their views into account in making decisions about
their upbringing. However, in 1985 the House of Lords said
that parental powers to control their children dwindle as
the child matures. The rights of parents should give way to
the child's right to make decisions when 'he or she is of
sufficient understanding and intelligence' to be able to make
up his or her own mind. This is known as the Gillick principle.
This notion of children's rights to respect for their evolving
capacities in parental decision making is also reflected in
Article 5 of the UNCRC .
Other people in charge of children, such as
childminders, teachers or foster carers, do not have parental
responsibility. However, they do have a duty of care to behave
as a reasonable parent would do to ensure the child's safety.
This is sometimes called 'in loco parentis'. In an emergency
they can take reasonable steps to promote the child's welfare.
For more searchable information about
the protection and welfare of children, including what the
Child Act says, residence orders, contact orders, and parental
responsibility look at www.compactlaw.co.uk/child.html