You have the right to be protected from being hurt or badly treated.
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.
What violence is
The UNCRC considers violence to happen when someone's mind is hurt as well as their body. Because of this, verbal abuse and intimidation are included in its definition of the term.
As well as being protected from violence, children and young people should be protected from:
- all forms of exploitation
- sexual abuse
- exposure to accidents
- violent images.
The State should help make sure that people aren't violent towards children and young people, and should also take steps to make sure they don’t feel like self-harming or committing suicide. In addition, people should be aware of how common violence against children and young people is, and which children or young people may be at risk of it.
When violence happens
If someone is violent towards 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 in any way because someone has been violent towards them, or because they’ve spoken up about it.
A child or young person can be separated from a parent if they've been responsible for that child or young person's abuse or neglect.
A child or young person has the right to alternative care if their care situation has led to violence against them.
Children and young people should be protected against traditional practices that are violent against them.
If a child or young person is living away from home, they should be checked up on in case they aren't safe.
People of all ages shouldn't be violent against children or young people at school.
Children and young people shouldn't be sexually exploited.
Children and young people shouldn't be punished in a cruel or degrading way.
There are rules relating to the involvement of children and young people with the armed forces.
Children and young people should be helped to recover if they are survivors of violence.
This article is a simplified version of Article 19 of the UNCRC. The full text of the Article can be found below:
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
The Commissioner's office has an enquiries service that takes calls about children and young people who are at risk of harm.