Children and young people in the UK have their rights by two main documents the Human Rights Act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC for short).

The Human Rights Act

Our Human Rights Act protects the rights of everyone. It doesn't matter what age you are. We made this short video to show how our Human Rights Act works, what human rights we have, and what the HRA has done to change young people’s lives for the better since it came into force 19 years ago.




The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

The ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child’ is an agreement written by the member countries of United Nations about the rights of children and young people. We will call it ‘CRC’ for short.

What does it say?

The CRC lists over 40 rights belonging to children and young people called ‘Articles’, including:

  • The right to express your views and have them taken into account in matters that affect you (Article 12)
  • The right to be free from all forms of violence (Article 19)
  • The right to play, rest and leisure (Article 31)

The CRC says that in any decision about you, what is best for you should be a top priority. Check out the More Info page to learn more about all the rights in the CRC.

Is it for me?

The CRC is for everybody below the age of 18. Some rights in the CRC protect certain groups of young people. For example if you are living away from home or you’ve had to escape the country you were born in, there are rights to make sure you are treated fairly and your needs are met.

You can read more about the CRC by clicking on the image below:

How it Works

In 1991 the UK Government made a promise to the United Nations to respect children’s rights. It did this by agreeing to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (or ‘CRC’ for short). The CRC has over 40 rights for children and young people (under 18).

How are rights in the CRC protected?

The CRC says that governments should do everything they can to make sure children’s rights are respected and protected. This means the Government should be thinking about your rights when it is making decisions like making new laws and policies. Every five years they have to tell the UN about how they have done this.You can read more about how the the CRC works by clicking on the image below:

The CRC in the UK

In 1991 the UK Government made an international promise to the United Nations to respect children’s rights. It did this by agreeing to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (or ‘CRC’ for short). The CRC contains over 40 rights for young people aged under 18. Every five years the UK Government has to report to a United Nations Committee of children’s rights experts who check whether the rights in the CRC are being respected and protected here in the UK. The report includes information from governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Scotland 

The First Minister of Scotland has committed to incorporation of the CRC into Scots law before the end of 2021. This means that the protections contained within it will be directly accessible to children and young people in the UK. You can read more about this on the website of the Children and Young Person's Commissioner Scotland

You can read more about how the the CRC in the UK by clicking on the image below:

Who's Who?

There are a number of people important to protecting the rights in the Convention on the Rights of the Child:

  • CRC Committee
  • UK Government
  • Children and young people
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Children’s Commissioners

You can read more about who's who by clicking on the image below:

Get Involved

Every five years a United Nations Committee of children’s rights experts (the ‘CRC Committee’) asks the UK government to tell them how it has been respecting and protecting children’s rights. This is known as the ‘examination process’.

The UK Government writes a report telling the Committee what it has been doing to protect children’s rights. Charities (or non-governmental organisations), the Children’s Commissioners, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission will tell the Committee how well they think the governments are doing at protecting children’s rights.

The last time the CRC Committee examined the UK was in May 2016. This means that they will examine the UK again in 2021. We will update this website with how to get involved nearer to that time! 

More information about my rights

You can find more information about your rights here.

More information about this project

We worked with children and young people throughout the UK to develop all the factsheets on this page. You can read more about how this project worked here