A key function of the Commissioner is to ensure children and young people’s opinions and views are sought, heard, and taken into account in decision-making processes that affect them.
“Appearing to “listen” to children is relatively unchallenging; giving due weight to their views requires real change.”
-United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 5 (2003)
This page is designed to share the work of the Commissioner on children and young people’s participation and to provide useful resources and information to support government and non-government organisations to create opportunities for children and young people to participate in democratic and decision-making processes.
“We Can” Short Film from Commissioner for Children (Tas) on Vimeo.
Children and young people have a right to have a say in decisions that affect them and to have their views and opinions taken into account.Read more
The “right to participate” is set out in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This right is a key principle of the Convention, meaning it is fundamental to the fulfilment of other rights, particularly for children and young people’s right to have their best interests promoted. By listening to children and young people, and showing them that what they have to say is important, they learn that their voice matters and that they have rights and responsibilities in the same way that adults do. They also learn the skills needed to become engaged and active citizens.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment No.12 (2009) “The right of a child to be heard” identifies participation as:
A term that has evolved and is now widely used to describe an ongoing process, which includes information-sharing and dialogue between children and adults based on mutual respect, and in which children can learn how their views and those of adults are taken into account and shape the outcome of such processes.
Benefits for Children and Young People
Benefits for Organisations
Benefits for Society
Many organisations, groups and individuals express an interest in involving children and young people in decision-making processes but may lack the confidence or knowledge to go about it.Read more
Organisations and community groups may shy away from including children and young people in decision-making processes because of:
Promoting children and young people’s participation is about creating opportunities for children and young people to express their views, share their experiences and engage in decision-making in a way that is safe, and developmentally and culturally appropriate.Read more
Effective participation demands a whole-systems approach, combining five key elements:
Children and young people’s participation should include developmentally and culturally appropriate information, listening to their experiences and opinions and taking what they say seriously.
Children and young people should be asked whether they want to participate in decision-making processes. There will be occasions when children and young people do not want to be involved.
There are several models that provide a framework to guide meaningful participation and consultation with children and young people.
For more information please visit Youth Policy
There are several effective ways for engaging with children and young people. Some of these examples include:
For more ideas and resources please click here.
For advice from Tasmanian children and young people on what to consider when planning for the participation of children and young people in decision making, please click here.