Declaration of the Rights of the Child

DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD Adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 1386 (XIV) of 10 December 1959
   WHEREAS the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
   WHEREAS the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,
   WHEREAS the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth,
   WHEREAS the need for such special safeguards has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924, and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the statutes of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children,
   WHEREAS mankind owes to the child the best it has to give,
   Now, therefore, General Assembly Proclaims    THIS DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD to the end that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth, and calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals, and upon voluntary organizations, local authorities and national Governments to recognize these rights and strive for their observance by legislative and other measures progressively taken in accordance with the following principles:
1   The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.
2   The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
3   The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.
4   The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.
5   The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.
6   The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.
7   The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society.   The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents.   The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right.
8   The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.
9   The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form.   The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.
10   The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.

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Children the forgotten victims in family violence campaign

Gender split.

Children are being overlooked in the campaign against family violence, despite new statistics showing they represent one in five victims of family-related homicide, senior researchers say.

Figures released this month by the Australian Institute of Crim­in­ology have revealed the complex nature of killings within Australian families over the past decade.

Of the 1088 cases where people were killed by family members, 56 per cent of victims died at the hands of their partner, with women representing three-­quarters of those victims.

Children represented 21 per cent of all victims, with mothers slightly more likely to be the killer than fathers.

More than 80 per cent of children killed by their parents were under nine years old, with 32 per cent less than one year old.

AIC research manager for violent crime and exploitation Samantha Bricknell said the impact of family violence on children warranted greater attention in the public debate, which is predominantly focused on men attacking women.

“I think children are still being lost in the broader discussion,” Dr Bricknell said. “The effects on the child witnessing the violence — but also the impact on the child physically and emotionally being the victim of family violence — is in the conversation, but we’re not really looking at this as much as we should.”

The AIC is currently gathering more detail on child homicides in Australia, including what role parental mental health and custodial arrangements might play in children’s deaths.

The lack of substantial data and issues of underreporting have hindered efforts for a clear picture of family violence, with the Victorian government now planning to rely on measures such as hospital presentations and crime statistics to introduce a family violence index by February.

Dr Bricknell said cases of violence against women unrelated to family or relationship dynamics were sometimes brought into the conversation to bolster ­impressions of a domestic violence “epidemic”.

“It is very difficult to say what is happening now and say it is an epidemic when we don’t know what was happening five years ago,” she said. “I suspect this has been a huge issue for many, many years, for time immemorial probably, but we have to be very careful talking about spikes in violent activity.

“We really don’t know what the situation was beforehand.”

The average number of family-related homicides has dropped since the 1990s — from an average of 129 deaths each year between 1989 and 2002 to an average 101 deaths each year between 2002 and 2012.

University of South Australia adjunct associate professor Dale Bagshaw said that too much ­emphasis was being placed on deaths and physical violence in the current campaigning, and other types of abuse and the role of ­children as victims was being overlooked.

“Children as victims of violence are often ignored,” she said.

“The effect of violence on children is quite devastating, both in the short and long term.”

If you or someone you know is impacted by domestic or family violence or sexual assault, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

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