We’re available for advice on children’s human rights on email at inbox@cypcs.org.uk and on freephone at

0800 019 1179.

How can Article 12 be put into practice?

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:

  • telling children and young people about Article 12 and the rights that it gives them
  • telling adults to think about article 12
  • finding out what stops children and young people from having a say, and thinking about how things can be changed.

[Our 7 Golden Rules resource is designed to help adults get better at working with children and young people and listening to them.]

Does Article 12 of the UNCRC apply to everyone under 18?


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:

  • special materials should be produced for children and young people with disabilities if they need these to make their views heard,
  • special consideration should be given to children and young people in vulnerable situations, such as those in care or refugees,
  • care should be taken to make sure the opinions of girls are respected just as much as those of boys.
What is abduction?

What is abduction?

A child is abducted when these two things are true:

  • they’ve been removed from the place where they legally live or are being kept somewhere and unable to return there.
  • the people who’ve done this haven’t been authorised to do so or have broken the law by doing it.

Article 11 and Article 35 of the UNCRC both say that children should be protected from abduction.

What does it mean for adults to think about the best interests of children and young people?
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When adults who know a child or young person think about that person’s best interests, they should:

  • think about what’s best for them in their day to day lives
  • make sure they are protected and cared for.

When adults in positions of power think about children and young people’s best interests, they should:

  • think about what’s best for children and young people in their day to day lives when making laws
  • make sure children and young people are protected and cared for
  • make sure that groups who protect and care for children and young people are good at what they do.

Article 3 of the UNCRC is about children and young people’s best interests.

What are direct and indirect discrimination?

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.

What is a judicial review?

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.

What is physical intervention?

Physical intervention happens when someone limits another person’s movement by force. Restraint and seclusion are both forms of physical intervention.

What are restraint and seclusion?

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.