The right to be safe
Your rights under the UNCRC
UNCRC, Article 19: It’s your right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.
UNCRC, Article 36: It’s your right to be protected from any kind of exploitation (being taken advantage of)
UNCRC, Article 39: It’s your right to help if you’ve been hurt, neglected or badly treated.
Your rights under Irish law
- Under Article 42 of the Irish Constitution, if it isn’t safe for you to live with your family, it’s your right to be cared for by someone else.
-Under the Children First Act 2015, it’s your right not to be hit.
Did you know?
- The Child and Family Agency (Tusla) and An Garda Síochána are the agencies that are responsible for child protection in Ireland.
- In 2016, the ISPCC’s Childline listening service for children answered 385,673 calls and 19,582 conversations to its online service options (web chat/text messaging). Childine is a 24/7 phone and web chat service that listens to young people about whatever worries them.
- In 2016, many young people contacted Childline to speak about being afraid of losing their home. Traveller children spoke about not feeling in control of their lives and children in residential care spoke about negative experiences, like bullying or not having a social worker.
- In 2015, the Oireachtas (the Dáil and the Seanad) passed a new law called the Children First Act 2015. It says, among other things, that certain people working with children must report concerns or worries they have about a child’s safety to the Child and Family Agency (Tusla).
- 90.8% of young people in Ireland said they felt safe in their communities. There was a difference in the answers from people living in the city and in the country. Only 84.9% of young people in Dublin said they felt safe (Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2012)
- 1 in 5 children who took part in a research project called Net Children Go Mobile said that they have experienced bullying, either online or offline. 13% of 13-14 year olds said that they had been bullied on a social networking site. Girls are more likely to experience bullying than boys (26% of girls compared to 17% of boys).
- At the end of October 2016, Tusla had 4,282 cases of children in care waiting for a social worker. This was 51% fewer than January 2014.
- In May 2017, a report by the Government’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, said that a lot more needs to be done to make sure children are safe in Ireland. He spoke about the need for Tusla and the Gardaí to work more closely together.
- In enacting the Children First Act 2015, Ireland has followed 46 other countries in the world (including 19 in the EU) which have banned corporal punishment of children.
- There is an Online Safety Hub on the Spunout website that has information for young people on how to stay safe online.
Hear your right – read by Aine Craven
Tá sé de cheart agat cosaint a fháil ó dhrochíde, idir chorp is intinn.
Éist le do chearta – léite ag Luke Ó Murchú
What children and young people are saying
- “One of the rights that Aisling ties into is the right to a safe place. So the right to food and the right to a roof over your head, and to have a safe place to go.” – Chloe (14, Ballymun Aisling Centre)
“We think every child has the right to be protected from harm. No child should suffer any sort of abuse, physically or mentally. Governments and organisations have a responsibility to protect children in their countries from harm as best they can. Nobody has the right to hurt a child.”
“Children that are loved and cared for grow up to be confident adults.”
“I think all children should have a safe home because lots of children in the world have no homes.”
- Ellen O’Mahony and Carla Ryan perform their original composition “Shield” at Farmleigh House, Dublin on 25th April 2014, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. The song relates with the right to be safe and protection.
Children and young people share their views on children’s right to be safe from harm
Find out more
- Childline – Childline is a listening service for children
- ISPCC – The ISPCC runs a Shield Campaign against bullying
- Belong To – Find out about Belong To’s Stand Up campaign against homophobic and transphobic bullying
- Spunout.ie – The Online Safety Hub has information for young people on how to stay safe online
- Barnardos – Barnardos has information for young people about the right to be safe, including some services young people can contact.
- Tusla – The Child and Family Agency has information for the public, including young people, on how to report concerns that a child is in danger
Explore More – Resource materials for Teachers & Educators
- EQUITAS – ‘Crocodile’. An activity for 6-8 year olds to explore the importance of feeling safe within a group. In Play It Fair: Human Rights Education Toolkit for Children (2009), pp.5-6.
- Council of Europe – ‘From Bystander to Helper’. Activity for 7-13 year olds to develop their understanding of different forms of violence as a human rights issue and how to combat violence. In Compasito. Manual on Human Rights Education for Children (2009), pp.108-109.
- Webwise – The Webwise website includes a range of educational resources for working with children (primary) and young people (post-primary) on issues relating to internet safety.
- Spunout – ‘Don’t Be A Bystander’. A short video clip (01:09 mins) that can be used in work with young people about witnessing cyberbullying.
- World’s Largest Lesson – A range of resources to support children and young people of different ages to learn about and take action relating to the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs include a goal relating to peace and justice (Goal 16), which incorporates a target to eliminate all forms of violence against children.