The Commissioner for Children and Young People

Every child has the right to life, survival and development, which includes education, food, clean water, health care, shelter and a safe living environment.

Children must be protected from all kinds of exploitation (being taken advantage of) including harmful work, drugs, human trafficking, corporal punishment and war. They should be free from emotional and physical abuse and have access to legal help if they are hurt or killed. They have a right to freedom of expression and should be encouraged to take part in cultural activities that reflect their views and needs. They have a right to an identity that is recognised by the government and they must be able to quickly get back their identity documents if they are lost.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international treaty that states that children are entitled to many things including the right to education, food, health care and security. It has been ratified by over 196 countries and is one of the most widely ratified human rights treaties in history. The CRC changed the way that laws and governments look at children. It tells adults to always put the best interests of children first in everything that they do. It also says that children are equal to everyone else and should be treated with respect and dignity.

In the past, people did not think of children as individuals with their own lives, needs and opinions that were different from those of their parents. The CRC has changed this and now people see children as active individuals who have their own rights that should be respected.

Every person who works with children should be trained to understand and promote the CRC. This includes teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, judges, policemen and other professionals who come into contact with children. They should all be aware of the issues that affect children and should do their best to protect them. The Commissioner for Children and Young People is a national figure who promotes the implementation of the CRC and works with state and territory children’s commissioners and guardians to achieve these goals.

The Commissioner works with government, communities, children and young people to develop and implement initiatives that will make a real difference for all Australians. To do this, she consults widely with children and their representatives, including community groups and community services, to ensure that the voices of children are heard and understood.

The Commission also works closely with local, regional and international partners to address specific issues, such as child poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, sex offending, education and employment. It also supports the work of local and international child-focused organisations such as UNICEF, Save the Children and others. Its work is complementary to the important work of state and territory children’s commissioners and their staff, as well as other organisations that provide support for families and children. This includes community service organisations, non-government organisations and the private sector.