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Article 12 should be taken into account when governments pass laws. New laws should take into account the right of children and young people to have opinions in any and all areas of their lives.
As well as this, one of the Commissioner’s jobs is to make sure children and young people can have their voices heard.
He does this by:
[Our 7 Golden Rules resource is designed to help adults get better at working with children and young people and listening to them.]
Article 12 doesn’t mean children and young people have to express an opinion if they don’t want to. They can refuse to give their opinion for any reason, and Article 12 shouldn’t be used to pressure them into giving it.
The opinion of a child and young person should be considered everywhere, including in their home, in their workplace and at school. This is true no matter how young that person is, although the weight their opinion is given should change as they grow older or become more mature.
Article 12 applies to everyone, and care should be taken to make sure it can be exercised by everyone in reality. For example:
What is abduction?
A child is abducted when these two things are true:
When adults who know a child or young person think about that person’s best interests, they should:
When adults in positions of power think about children and young people’s best interests, they should:
Direct discrimination happens when a person is treated differently because of the way they are.
For example, it happens if someone doesn’t get a job because of their disability or isn’t treated equally because of their race.
Indirect discrimination happens when something applies to everyone in the same way but affects some people unfairly.
For example, if everyone had to climb up a flight of stairs to get to an after school club, this would discriminate against children who couldn’t do that because of disability.
If you believe you may have been discriminated against the Equality Advisory Support Service provides advice and assistance on equality and human rights legislation and how it may relate to you.
More in the Rights questions and answers section
A judicial review happens when judges examine if a public body has followed the law when it made a certain decision. If the judges find that it didn’t, they can make that public body take a different decision instead.
A rule is statutory when it’s been officially written down in a law.
When someone doesn’t follow a statutory rule, then they are breaking the law.
Physical intervention happens when someone limits another person’s movement by force. Restraint and seclusion are both forms of physical intervention.
Restraint means holding a child or young person to stop them from moving.
Seclusion means shutting a child somewhere alone and not allowing them to leave.