Our Young Advisors
The Young Advisors are a group of young people from all across Scotland. They help to make sure children and young people’s voices are heard and taken seriously in the work of the Commissioner.
Their ages range from 12 to 17. And they have a variety of interests and experiences but they all care about children’s rights. They are all Human Rights Defenders.
The Young Advisors meet roughly once a month. This is a mix of online and in person meetings. The in person meetings usually take place in the Commissioner’s office in Edinburgh. They also focus on children’s rights and what is impacting on children and young people’s lives right now.
Sometimes the Young Advisors take part in campaigns, opportunities and events across Scotland. Sometimes across the world. They also work with us to communicate about the human rights issues that matter to them.
ENYA & ENOC
ENOC is the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children. This includes Children’s Commissioners, including Scotland’s Children and Young People’s Commissioner, Nicola Killean. They all promote and protect children’s rights, as outlined in the UNCRC. Our Young Advisors plays a key role in this through the European Network of Young Advisors (ENYA). Young members from all countries come together and share their concerns and views regarding their rights, to make their proposals heard, and to agree recommendations to share with the adults at the ENOC conference.
ENYA exists to give young people the opportunity to be heard at a European level, and we’ve helped young people in Scotland to be involved in it for several years. As part of the ENYA (European Network of Young Advisors) child participation project 2023, children and young people from Scotland and across Europe have been working on the ENOC annual theme: “The role of Children’s Rights Institutions (CRIs) in the protection and promotion of children’s rights”.
Mental Health Investigation
In 2021, our Young Advisors met to consider how to use the Commissioner’s investigation powers to highlight an issue that was important to them. Mental health was identified as an area of serious concern which affects increasing numbers of children and young people. The decision to focus on mental health was also informed by the impact of increased levels of stress and anxiety experienced by children and young people during and post Covid-19.
The Mental Health Investigators chose to focus their investigation on school counselling as it is an important part of the Scottish Government’s response to Scotland’s mental health crisis, and plays a critical role in early intervention. It was also clear that looking at counselling provision in schools across Scotland could provide a useful picture of levels of need and challenges around delivery which might inform work in other areas. From that point onwards, the Mental Health Investigators were involved in leading every aspect of decision-making throughout the investigation.
Their report was published in 2023 and presented to the Scottish Parliament.
Lewis and Grace, Young Advisors waiting to go on national radio at the BBC to talk about our investigation into mental health.
Get in touch
You can contact us if you want to get involved with what we’re doing. We’re not looking for more young advisors at the moment, but there are still ways in which you can make your experiences heard. You might want to make us a video about a human rights issue that matters to you, or tell us about a way our work could be better.