Rights are something that everyone should have, no matter how old you are, where you live, how much money you have or what religion you follow. Children and Young People have a special set of Rights called the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child or UNCRC. There is also a law in England called the Children Act 1989, which says adults need to keep you safe.
Your rights include:
- Being able to say what you think and feel, be listened to and taken seriously
- To have your best interests put first when decisions are being made about you
- To grow up healthy
- To have an education
- To have a good enough standard of living, such as having somewhere to live, food to eat and clothes to keep you warm
- To be protected from abuse, violence, bullying and harm
- To be treated equally and not be discriminated against
- To have your cultural background and identity valued
Here is a summary of all your rights
If you think that your rights are not being met, try to talk to someone you feel safe with about this so they can help you have your rights upheld and your views and wishes heard. This could be a teacher, family member, social worker, advocate or youth worker. You can also call a helpline like ChildLine for advice.
Always remember that everyone has rights, so you can help others by respecting their rights too.
The UK has ratified (officially signed up to) the UNCRC. But this does not guarantee that the rights in it will be respected and fulfilled. This is because the Convention is not yet incorporated into English law. In November 2021 Cornwall Council agreed to develop a Children’s Rights Approach. This is a commitment to integrate children’s rights into everything the Council does.
Advocates are people who can offer advice and support to children and young people who are experiencing certain situations in their lives including living in care, having a disability, being homeless or wanting to make a complaint. An Advocate's main role is to make sure that your views, wishes and feelings are heard when decisions are being made about your life. If you think you are entitled to an Advocate speak to someone you trust like a teacher, youth worker, social worker or family member and they can help make a referral.
The Children’s Commissioner for England:
The Children’s Commissioner for England is there to promote the rights, views and interests of children in policies or decisions affecting their lives. They particularly represent children who are vulnerable or who find it hard to make their views known. The current commissioner is Dame Rachel de Souza. She says that her priority is to listen to children across the country and hear about their lives, which will help shape her time as Children’s Commissioner. The Big Ambition survey is now open to children and young people across England. They would like to know what children enjoy about their schools, communities, family life, and the wider world. They also want to find out what young people would like policymakers and Government to focus on to help them achieve their future hopes and ambitions. #TheBigAmbition