Four Out Of Five Australians Support A National Child Rights Advocate: New Poll.

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18th November 2009, 01:02pm - Views: 964

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Embargoed until: 00.01 Friday November 20, 2009

Four out of five Australians support 

a national child rights advocate: new poll

Four out of five Australians support a representative in Federal Government to stand up for the

rights of children, according to a new poll released by Save the Children. 

“Save the Children urges the Federal Government to establish a national children’s commissioner to

place children’s rights higher on the national agenda and improve the wellbeing of children and

young people in Australia,” said Dr Annie Pettitt, Child Rights Specialist for Save the Children

Australia.  “A national children’s commissioner would ensure that children and young people

exercise their right to voice their opinions, be listened to and taken seriously.” 

Save the Children surveyed nearly 1200 people on children’s rights to mark the 20th

anniversary of

the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (November 20). The findings include:

78 per cent of Australians polled would like to see a role in Federal Government for a person

who stands up for the rights of children and young people.

85 per cent of Australians polled believe that children and young people should be consulted

in major decisions that affect their lives.

47 per cent of Australians polled believe the views of children in their family or in the

community do not have equal value to those of adults.

Save the Children calls for a national children’s commissioner to work with and improve co-

ordination between the existing state and territory children’s commissions to better represent all

Australian children.  

The organisation believes a national children’s commissioner would give greater protection to

vulnerable and disadvantaged children by ensuring their views are taken into account on broad

policy issues and advocating for improved conditions for all Australian children and young people.

In the 20 years since New Zealand established a national children’s commissioner, it has made a

significant contribution to preventing violence against children, invited children to express their

views on policies and laws that impact them and backed some important legislative changes,

including the ban on corporal punishment from New Zealand schools in 1990. Britain, Sweden and

Norway also have national children’s commissioners  to ensure that children and young people are

safe from harm and that as many people as possible know about children’s rights.

“The Australian Government must listen to children to effectively tackle issues such as child abuse,

poverty and teenage homelessness,” said Dr Pettitt.  “A national children’s commissioner would

provide a voice for children at a national level to ensure their opinions are heard and their human

rights respected."

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Dr Annie Pettitt

call Ian Woolverton on +61 437 355 096

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