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Empowering children to participate

“Lots of adults don’t care enough about kids and this stuff is going to keep happening. Until they see us as having good ideas and believe us [when things go wrong] nothing will change.” Young person

Principle 2.jpg

National Principle 2: Children and young people are informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously.

Children and young people must be informed about their rights, participate in decisions affecting them and be taken seriously.

The empowerment and participation of children and young people is essential in creating a culture of safety, as ‘it is firmly established that a central dynamic of the abuse of children is the exploitation of power in order to gain submission or silence’.1 Therefore, empowering children to participate in every domain area will without doubt strengthen an organisation’s culture of safety. Organisations should develop and implement strategies for promoting the participation of children and young people as well as providing them with a variety of safe ways to share concerns.

Children have the right to say what they think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect them and to have their opinions taken into account. (Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 12)

Commissioner's resources

Involving children and young people - Participation guidelines

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National Principles for Child Safe Organisations WA: Guidelines

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National resources

Child Safe Organisations: Children and young people - Australian Human Rights Commission

Charter of Commitment to Children and Young People - Australian Human Rights Commission

The National Office for Child Safety - Australian Government

Student Wellbeing Hub - Australian Government

Other resources and examples

Youth Participation Kit: Organisations - WA Department of Communities

Explore the National Principles

Endnotes

  1. Community and Disability Services Ministers’ Conference (CDSMC) 2005, Creating Safe Environments for Children – Organisations, Employees and Volunteers, p. 3, <http://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/ocyfs/child_safe_organisations>