Listen to Children Report 2011

Every five years, a special group of experts on children’s rights called the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child examines how children are going in Australia. They pay attention to the problems children face, and make recommendations to the Government about what should be done to address these problems.

In its deliberations, the Committee examines a report submitted by the Australian Government, and an alternative report from the Australian Child Rights Taskforce, bringing together the voices of service providers, child rights experts and children and young people themselves.

In 2011, the Child Rights Taskforce presented its report, Listen to Children, to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

About the Report

Listen to Children found that, Despite the lack of efforts of successive Australian Federal Government to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Australia is a wonderful place for most of its children. However, Australia is not a wonderful place for all of its children, especially Indigenous children. In order to make Australia better for its children, we must learn to listen to them.

Despite Australia’s ratification of the CRC in 1991, Australia has yet to effectively incorporate human rights into policy and legislative framework to benefit children. There continues to be unacceptable gaps in the legal protection of children’s rights. Significant harm to the lives, survival and healthy development of far too many children has occurred over the 20 years since ratification:

  • 1,048 children are currently being held in immigration detention;
  • almost half of all homeless people in Australia are under the age of 18;
  • Aboriginal children aged 10-17 are 24 times more likely to be jailed than non-Aboriginal children and Aboriginal children are 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home care.

The Report also acknowledges that there has been some progress over the past five years. Positive developments include: commitment to the National Early Childhood Development Strategy, its implementation of a National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children, the Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, and the commitment to Closing the Gap on Aboriginal health and education.

The Report is an overview of Australia’s performance as it relates to each article of CRC and recommends that the Australian Government implement the following core initiatives:

  • CRC should be comprehensively incorporated into Australian law;
  • a comprehensive National Plan of Action for Children and Young People should be created and implemented, in partnership with children and civil society; and
  • an independent National Children’s Commissioner should be established.

Children share the same values as everyone else, and Australia must learn to listen to children’s opinions.

Download the Listen to Children report.

To accompany this report, the Taskforce developed some fact sheets on different issues outlined in the report. Find out more about each of these issues and recommendations for Australia:

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