All rights are important because they help you to grow up happy and healthy. Rights are about making sure people are treated well and get a fair deal. They set out what is needed for people to live well. Everybody has rights, and everybody should respect the rights of other people. We all have responsibilities to do that. That's how you get a safe and happy society. Some people find the idea of "children's rights" quite difficult. But children's rights are human rights. If you are informed you will be able to stand up for your right and the rights of others. Being informed of your rights, and being able to access your rights is vital for you to receive the support, opportunities and information you are entitled to.
Children’s rights need to be protected and someone needs to make sure that they are respected and realised. In Scotland that is the Children & Young People’s Commissioner. In 2001, The Scottish Parliament decided that Scotland should have someone who works to look after your rights after consulting with children and young people the commissioner represents young people up to the age of 18 or 21 if they’re care experienced. Scotland's Children and Young People's Commissioner started in 2004. The Commissioner's job is to protect and promote your rights and they are independent of the Government or Parliament.
The Commissioner works to make sure that you and other people know about your rights and that people making decisions - for example local councils or public bodies like the NHS and Police - have your best interests at heart. The Commissioner will also speak out if they believe children or young people aren't getting a fair deal and where improvements could be made.
Advocacy is another way for you to be supported to navigate your rights – you can ask for an independent advocacy worker on your behalf and the local council has a duty to provide advocacy services to care experienced children. Advocacy workers usually come from organisations and charities and it is their job to support you to in whichever way you need and represent you, what you say and to support you to say it.
Depending on your age and circumstances – you should be supported with a pathways plan from your local authority where your needs and wants are prioritized to support you in whatever you decide. You can ask for this to be updated to help support you access certain rights.
Social Work Records - You have a right to a copy of information about you held by Social Work. You have to write to your local authority (council) asking to see your social work record. You might have to show that it’s really you making the request. This is something you should think carefully about as accessing your records may leave you with more questions than answers.
If you would like to find out more about rights and what the Commissioner does, please visit their website.
Here you can find an advocacy worker near you.
You can also find a list of advocacy providers from across Scotland here.
To get in touch with the Commissioner and team, phone 0131 346 5350 or free phone number 0800 019 1179 this number is for young people to use, or email.
Clan Childlaw for more information and practical support on rights.
Young Scot InfoLine
Phone Young Scot InfoLine on 0808 801 0338 (Mon to Fri 10am - 6pm).
Is a young-person-led network that works to promote young people's participation and information rights.
Equality Advisory Support Service
The Government has commissioned a new Equality Advisory Support Service which has replaced the EHRC Helpline.
Scottish Child Law Centre
Free legal advice for under 18s – they can help you with any questions about the law.
Scottish Youth Parliament
Is the democratically elected voice of Scotland's young people, working to achieve a nation that actively listens to and values the meaningful participation of its children and young people.
Together (Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights)
Is a charity with over 340 members, including other charities, schools, and lots of people who work with children. Together raises awareness and understanding of children's rights, and works to make sure that the rights of every child and young person in Scotland are met.
Is the United Nations agency that promotes children's rights all over the world.