New children’s advocacy guide

Date: 22nd July 2014
Category: General measures of implementation
Author: Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has added a new children's advocacy section to their website, to be used as a guide for anyone who advocates for a child or young person.

The guide includes an introduction to children's advocacy; good children's advocacy; being an advocate; understanding advocacy; confidentiality; practical advice; systems for supporting children; the right to be heard and explaining advocacy.

The introduction includes a section on taking account of children's rights, outlining the principles and articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and highlighting the importance that advocates have a strong understanding of children's rights.

The introduction states that advocacy plays a significant role in promoting all four of the UNCRC general principles (Articles 2, 3, 6 and 12) and is particularly central to the realisation of Article 12 for many children. Article 12 is the right of the child to express his or her views freely in all matters affecting them, and for their views to be given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity.

The section titled 'making sure children and young people are heard' recognises Article 12 and the need for high quality advocacy for children and young people. Furthermore, it states that it is crucial that children, young people and families are supported to understand what help is possible and what their choices may be. Cl@n Childlaw have put together a list of domestic laws which promote and protect a child's right to be heard, which is accessible in this section.