The question Do you know your rights? was brought to life for a group of young participants in a two day workshop run by Red Cross as part of National Youth Week.
Facilitated by Red Cross Project Coordinator and Charter Champion Stella Koukouvitakis, and Red Cross Youth Advisor Adrienne Virgo, the workshop was based around the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and involved ten young people aged between 13 and 19.
Guest presenters from the Youth Education Centre, RespectED and the Legal Services Commission, among others, discussed such rights as the right to identity, the right to education and the right to leisure, play and culture.
Charter of Rights coordinators Jodie Evans and Yvette Roberts from the Guardian’s Office were invited to consider Article 25 of UNCRC which requires the periodic review of the treatment and circumstances of children in care or custody. They discussed its main provisions and how it relates to the Charter of Rights which covers children and young people under guardianship or custody of the Minister in South Australia.
The conversation moved to perhaps the most important right, the right to be heard. Jodie and Yvette invited participants to consider times that they had been in care, in custody or at school and how well their thoughts and opinions had been sought and considered. The question brought forth a flood of comments and advice…
on being ignored or disregarded
- ‘Often they are judgemental… they judge you on your appearance, they think you are trouble.
- They just ignore what we say… they don’t realise that we are not nothing.
- Often they have their own views about what will work, how it should be and they won’t listen to anyone else. It is their way.
on the divide between young people and authority
- ‘They don’t value the same things as we do…..
- Often they just don’t make sense. They explain things their way but we don’t understand what they are saying. If we ask for them to explain it again they just don’t.
on the value of involving young people in decisions
- ‘All views should count.
- Great ideas don’t come from just one brain.
on persistence and using the system
- ‘Get your point across. Eventually people will listen if you are persistent and clear.
- Earning respect helps you too.
- Go through the right channels.
- With more support you feel more comfortable.
- If you don’t try you will never succeed. Trying isn’t failing, it’s an attempt at being successful. Just because you try and fail it doesn’t mean you will never succeed it just means that it’s not your time to be successful.
For more information on the UNCRC go to https://www.unicef.org/crc/
For more information on the Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care go to https://www.gcyp.sa.gov.au/charter-of-rights-2/
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