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UNCRC Article 19

I have the right to be protected from being hurt or badly treated

Governments should make sure that children are properly cared for. There should be laws to protect children from violence, abuse and neglect from adults.

Content note: This article discusses violence and abuse.

Article 19 of the UNCRC makes it clear that children and young people have the basic human right to dignity. This means they have the right to be protected from violence, just like everybody else.


The UNCRC considers violence to happen when someone attacks a person’s mental state as well as when they attack a person’s body. Because of this, verbal abuse and intimidation are both considered to be forms of violence.

As well as being protected from violence, Article 19 of the UNCRC says that children and young people should be kept safe from:

  • all forms of exploitation,
  • sexual abuse,
  • neglect,
  • exposure to accidents, and
  • violent images.

Under Article 19 of the UNCRC, Scotland and the UK should help make sure that people aren’t violent towards children and young people and should also take steps to make sure children and young people don’t feel like self-harming or committing suicide. In addition, we should make people aware of how common violence against children and young people is, and which children or young people may be at risk of it.


Article 19 of the UNCRC says that if someone uses violence against a child or young person, it’s never acceptable or justifiable. It should be possible for them to report a violent act in a safe and confidential way, and reports made by young people should be investigated by the authorities.

It should be possible for a person who commits an act of violence against a child or young person to be taken to court. When this happens, the child or young person who the act was committed against shouldn’t be discriminated against because someone has been violent towards them, or because they’ve spoken up about it.


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.


Scottish Women’s Aid offers confidential advice and information for both women and children and young people who are experiencing domestic abuse. Scottish Women’s Aid also has a Men’s Advice Line (tel. 0808 801 0327)

Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline is a 24-hour resource offering support to anyone experiencing domestic abuse as well as family members, friends, colleagues and professionals who support them (tel. 0800 027 1234).

If you wish to report a domestic abuse incident you can do so at your local police station or by using an online form. If the situation is urgent, telephone 101 and if it is an emergency, telephone 999. 

Relevant General Comments

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has produced many General Comments that help people understand how the UNCRC works in practice.

Some General Comments that are relevant to Article 19 are:

Days of General Discussion

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child facilitates Days of General Discussion where experts from around the world can discuss a child rights issue in detail. The reports of their discussions are a helpful tool to understand how the UNCRC should be interpreted.

Some Days of General Discussion relevant to Article 19 are:

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