Commissioner And Chief Constable Sign Up To UN Convention Of The Rights Of The Child
At a special ceremony today (Wednesday March 23rd) South Wales Police became the first police force in the UK to sign up to the principles of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
The Convention is an international agreement that sets out the additional rights for children and young people. It is an agreement between countries which sets out the basic rights all children should have everywhere in the world. Almost every country in the world has signed the agreement.
The UK agreed to obey the UNCRC in 1991. This means that the Government recognises that all children have these rights and has to protect them.
The Convention itself is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history. It has 54 articles that cover all aspects of a child’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all children everywhere are entitled to. It also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all children can enjoy all their rights. These rights describe what a child needs to survive, grow, and live up to their potential in the world. They apply equally to every child, no matter who they are or where they come from.
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has a legal duty to promote and protect the rights of all children in Wales. The work of the Children’s Commissioner is guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and she strives to ensure that it is implemented fully in Wales.
Current priorities for the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable include introducing the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) advocate service to engage with young people who have gone missing and who are being exploited or are at risk of being exploited. The review commissioned jointly by the Chief Constable and the Commissioner into Child Sexual Exploitation in South Wales involved engaging with young people to identify local issues and asked whether young people would disclose to police officers. The report found that young people were more likely to tell a “trusted adult” who was not a police officer and helped to identify the need for the CSE Advocate Service.
Commissioner Alun Michael said: “This decision has not been taken lightly. I and the Chief Constable believe in taking our commitments seriously, by spelling out our intentions and working with our partners to put principles into practice.
“We have agreed a plan which puts an emphasis on ‘early intervention and prompt, positive action’ and nowhere is that more important than in our engagement with children and young people.
“In Wales we have the benefit of working with our own Children’s Commissioner, established by Welsh Government as a ground-breaking initiative, and with councils, NHS bodies and voluntary organisations which share these priorities. So signing up to the Convention is a means of spelling out to everyone within South Wales Police and to our partners that we will work through the implications of the rights of children in everything we do.”
Chief Constable Peter Vaughan said: “I am very proud that South Wales Police is the first force in the UK to sign up to this treaty and this should go some way to show our commitment to children’s rights. I want children to thrive within our communities and I want them to be able to have the trust and confidence in us, knowing that we will listen to them and believe what they tell us.
“We already have strong evidence to show that we listen to what children tell us with our CSE Advocates. This is just one example of where we have listened and implemented a different way of working to ensure the safety of young people who may be at risk of child sexual exploitation. We will continue to listen and play our part in making our children some of the happiest, healthiest and safest children in the world.”
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, welcomed South Wales Police adopting the UNCRC. She said: “I aspire to a Wales where all children and young people have an equal chance to be the best that they can be. I am pleased to see South Wales Police has taken a leading role in working towards this ambition, by committing to the UNCRC in order to improve how they plan and deliver their services to children and young people.
“A strong society values and includes all of its citizens. My challenge to all public services in Wales is that they listen to children and young people, valuing their contribution as citizens, and work for and with them to secure positive outcomes and experiences. Wales will be stronger as a result.”
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