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Children’s rights in Australia and how they are protected

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child include the right to be safe, the right to play, the right to get an education and the right to grow up healthy. Source: Pexels/RODNAE Productions

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international human rights agreement that outlines the specific rights children and young people can claim. This week we examine the key rights of children and how they are protected in Australia.

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Children’s rights in Australia and how they are protected
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Some of the rights that are contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child include the right to be safe, the right to play, the right to get an education, and the right to grow up healthy.  

Paula Gerber is a Professor in the Law Faculty at Monash University and an internationally renowned scholar, with expertise in international human rights law. Her focus is children's rights. 

She says parents play a key role in a child’s right to grow up healthy. 


Highlights

  • School is mandatory for children between the ages of six and 17 in Australia. 
  • Children in Australia are not allowed to work in paid employment until they turn 15. 
  • A child as young as 10 can be arrested, charged, brought before a court, and jailed. 

“Australia benefits from the national healthcare system, Medicare, and all children, as soon as they're born are entitled to that healthcare system. But obviously, the primary responsibility for keeping children well and getting them to the doctor and getting their vaccinations falls on the parents as the first port of call.”

Children also have the right to be safe no matter where they are. 

Mandatory reporting laws, which vary between Australian jurisdictions, require that suspected abuse is reported to government child protection services. 

This applies to instances of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to family violence explains Professor Gerber. 

“The law imposes what's called ‘mandatory reporting obligations on a number of professionals, so that if they have reason to believe that a child is being subjected to violence or abuse or even neglect, then they must report that to child protection services, which falls within the government’s Department of Human Services. The sort of people who have that mandatory reporting obligation are doctors, nurses, teachers, police, people who work in religious organisations.”

 

 

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