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Children's rights

Children, like adults, have human rights. Children also have the right to special protection. Children’s rights are things that every child should have or be able to do – like being safe, having a name and getting an education.

The main international agreement on children’s rights is the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). As a party to the CRC, Australia has a duty to make sure that all children in Australia enjoy the rights set out in the agreement. The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations refer to some relevant examples of children's rights protected by the CRC.

The guiding principles of the CRC include:

  • the best interests of the child as a primary consideration
  • the right of children to survival and development
  • the right of children to express their views freely on all matters affecting them
  • the right of all children to enjoy all the rights of the CRC without discrimination.

The CRC is clear that parents and carers have the primary role in guiding and raising their children. The CRC also requires governments to make sure that children are properly cared for and protected from violence, abuse and neglect by anyone who cares for them.

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations are based on a child rights approach. This type of approach recognises, respects and protects the human rights of children in the development and implementation of laws, policies, practices and decisions affecting them. It focuses on genuine engagement with children and young people, and taking action to promote their right to safety and their right to have their views heard.

Each year, the National Children’s Commissioner produces a report that focuses on a particularly vulnerable group of children and young people in Australia, as well as information on children’s rights and Australia’s compliance with the CRC.

For more information about children's rights and to read the National Children’s Commissioner's reports, visit the Australian Human Rights Commission website: