On International Children’s Rights Day (20 November) 2017, Article 39 launched an exciting new campaign to strengthen children’s right to independent advocacy. Two months later, Heather and Megan from Sheffield Children in Care Council gave the campaign its name:
Article 39 runs the campaign in partnership with the National Children’s Advocacy Consortium and the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers. In June 2018, we produced a document showing the different legal backing there is for children and young people’s advocacy in England. You can download that here: Legislative framework for children’s independent advocacy, England, June 2018 (please alert us to any mistakes or omissions).
During 2018/19, Article 39’s Director, Carolyne Willow, was a member of the Children’s Commissioner for England’s Advocacy Working Group. Read more about that, and other, work here.
Please sign up now to join our campaign:
Independent advocacy is a process of helping children to express themselves, make and influence decisions affecting them and bring about positive change. It empowers children to ensure their rights are respected and their views and wishes are heard at all times. A review in Wales reported that, for children, the results of independent advocacy spanned ‘small victories to being lifesaving’. A 12 year-old girl told the NSPCC that having an independent advocate had ‘helped change my life’.
Our 3 campaign goals:
1) The development of a national strategy for children’s right to independent advocacy[i] in England, framed around what children value and want from their advocates. We anticipate this national strategy will address the following priorities[ii]:
- Awareness-raising of independent advocacy among children
- Ensuring independent advocacy is readily available and accessible to children
- Ensuring independent advocates have the knowledge, skills and capacity to navigate children’s rights in a variety of contexts[iii]
- Review and revision of national standards for the provision of skilled, independent advocacy[iv]
- Resourcing advocacy to guarantee its independence and effectiveness
- Mechanisms within and outside government to promote children’s independent advocacy and co-ordinate and oversee its development nationally.
2) To enshrine in law the right to an independent advocate for all children and young people receiving or seeking care or support from the state.
3) To ensure every residential institution[v] where children are looked after by the state has a system of independent visiting advocates to inform children about their rights and provide support when necessary to ensure these rights are upheld.