Article 16

I have the right to keep some things private.

Article 16 of the UNCRC makes it clear that children and young people have the right to privacy, just like adults do.

This means that:

  • they have the right to a private family life
  • they have the right to a private space where they can go to be alone, even if they’re in an institution
  • they have the right to keep their phone calls and emails private.

In Scotland, the right to privacy may not be respected if it puts someone in danger. For example, the police may look at a young person's emails if someone who isn’t who they say they are is contacting them.

Medical and legal privacy

Young people have the right to ask for medical and legal advice without their parents knowing. They also have the right to medical treatment without a parent’s approval.

Access to records

The right to privacy means that children and young people should know what records are kept about them. They should have access to these records, be able to correct anything that’s wrong and get anything that’s been obtained illegally taken out. They should be able to complain if the people who keep the records don’t listen to them.

Related articles

Article 8

Children and young people have the right to keep certain aspects of their identity private, such as their family relationships.

Article 9

If the State is considering whether a child or young person should still live with a parent, that child or young person has a right for their views to be kept private.

Article 17

The media shouldn't invade the privacy of a child or young person.

Article 19

Children and young people have the right to keep what they want private if they are survivors of violence.

Article 20

Children and young people don't lose the right to privacy if they're in care.

Full text

This article is a simplified version of Article 16 of the UNCRC. The full text of the Article can be found below:

1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.