ACCC Consumer Congress Oct 07Presentation Transcript
Sydney, Australia 29 October 2007
The National Children's and Youth Law Centre is dedicated to addressing human right issues for children and young people.
The touchstone for the centre is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) was an important landmark for the world's children. It established that children are entitled, not only to the same human rights as everyone else, but further that they are entitled to special rights which take account of their youthfulness and vulnerability.
CROC has been ratified by more than 190 countries worldwide and has greater support than any other Human Rights Instrument in the history of the United Nations.
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
A child has the right
- to access information (article 13)
- to education (article 28)
- to participate in cultural life (article 31)
- to be protected from economic exploitation (article 32)
How do child rights work?
A rights based approach requires the active involvement of the State (governments, consumer protection agencies and statutory authorities), the family and the community in the promotion and protection of children’s consumer rights – and allows for the active participation of children in all stages – as consumers and policy contributors
“ [The] major barrier to children taking advantage of their consumer rights is that they generally do not know they have those rights. Even if they do know they have rights, children may not understand how to enforce them or may not feel confident about pursuing a remedy. Young people have told us that it is very difficult to seek redress …because no-one listens to their complaints.”
Seen and Heard: Priority for Children in the Legal Process - 1997
Australian Law Reform Commission
Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission
The Centre seeks to provide legal advice and information to children and young people.
In 1997, the Centre developed an innovative facility for providing these services online.
The site has transformed the Centre’s ability to provide services to children nationally .
In 1999 the Centre launched an email advice and information service called LAWMAIL
Lawstuff has not been promoted since its initial launch. Yet children find it … and it currently gets over 4 million hits a year .
LawMail provides about 1500 responses a year. Common questions from children include how to be heard when your parents are separating; when can I leave home?; when can I have sex? ; what to do when I get treated unfairly at school; what to do when I get ripped off (by my employer …).
What do children want?
To be treated with respect
To know what to do for themselves
To use mechanisms designed by or at least for them.
Children trust their peers more than they trust adults – even when their peers are wrong or don’t know.
To be able to know and trust - so that they can find their own way in the (adult) world.