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Children's Week

NAPCAN > Children’s Week

Children’s Week - Saturday 19-Sunday 27 October 2019

Children’s Week is a national celebration of children’s rights, talents and citizenship held on the fourth Wednesday of October in Australia to coincide with Universal Children’s Day. Each year the theme of Children’s Week highlights a particular Children’s Right.

The Theme for 2019 is Article 24 – ‘Children have the right to good quality health care, clean water, nutritious food and a clean environment so that they will stay healthy’.

The information and resources from the 2018 Children’s Week are included below. New material will be added for Children’s Week 2019 midway through the year.

Want to get involved with Children’s Week?

  • Children’s Week is run by different organisations in each state and territory and many of these have their own websites. To find out more, check this list http://www.childrensweek.org.au/links.php on the national Children’s Week website – or see below for information about Northern Territory and Queensland, where NAPCAN is directly involved.
  • Download the posters below:

NAPCAN Article 12 Poster and Tip Sheet

National Children’s Week Poster

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

  • Download NAPCAN’s Children’s Voices Activity below to creatively engage children in having their say:

Children’s Voices Activity

  • Download NAPCAN’s ‘Tips for Talking to Children About Personal Safety’

Tip Sheet – Talking to Children About Personal Safety

  • Download and share NAPCAN’s social media tiles on your channels to promote Children’s Week 2018:

Social media tiles – click to download

  • Read the National Patron and Ambassador messages:

Download the National Patron message from the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove:

‘Children should be seen and not heard’, how often have we heard these words? Yet we don’t really pause to think about what they mean, about the impact they may have.

For all of us, children represent hope and the future, how we care for, respect and nurture our children that will determine our prosperity and happiness. It makes sense that we should actively encourage the views of children, listen to their ideas, and value their insights.

The theme for this year’s Children’s Week has been nominated as Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that ‘Children’s views and opinions are respected. They have the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child and the right to be heard.’

So this year, as we continue the journey of rearing confident, happy and safe children we resolve to listen to our children, to take heed of what they have to say and their perspective on the world. This will be good for children; it will be good for all of us.

I thank the Children’s Week Council of Australia for all it does in the name of our children and for Children’s Week around Australia.

National Ambassador message from the National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell:

As the National Children’s Commissioner, I am passionate about children’s rights and I am especially pleased that the theme of this year’s Children’s Week is the right of children to speak and be heard.

This right to be heard is enshrined in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  This article gives every child the right to be taken seriously and be heard in matters affecting them. It recognises that the right of children to have their views respected is a gateway to all other rights and the key to their active citizenship.

Hearing from children is not only empowering for them, it helps adults to get things right.  Every day, policies, programs and laws are being shaped that impact directly or indirectly on children.  They are the consumers, the clients and recipients of so much of what we do.  Ignoring the experiences and views of children, who are, after all, the experts in their own lives, will invariably lead to interventions that just don’t work for them.

Privileging the voice of children, really listening to what they have to say and taking it on board is also a powerful message to children about their value. To fully realise children’s rights we need active and systematic consideration of the interests of children and young people across Australia in the development of our laws, policies and practices. But most importantly, we need to listen. And when we listen we learn.

NAPCAN’s involvement in Children’s Week

In addition to supporting Children’s Week at the national level, NAPCAN is directly involved at the state and territory level in:

  • Northern Territory – NAPCAN coordinates Children’s Week and is a member of the Children’s Week Council of Australia. For more information about Children’s Week in the NT visit NAPCAN’s NT Children’s Week page.
  • Queensland – NAPCAN is a member of the state Children’s Week Committee. For more information see the Queensland Children’s Week website.

More about the 2018 theme: Article 12

Each year the Children’s Week Council of Australia selects as the theme of the week a children’s right from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This is an international treaty of which Australia is a signatory.

This year the committee has chosen Article 12, which supports a child’s right to have their voice heard on matters that affect them. Article 12 is important because it:

• acknowledges children’s fundamental right to be part of every decision that affects them 

• applies to all children in all countries without exception, including babies and very young children 

• necessitates learning new ways of listening and hearing the forms of communication by children of different ages 

• represents a challenge to all governments, requiring not only a cultural change, but also the introduction of new legislation, policies, services and programmes 

• demands different ways of working, and necessitates bringing children in to social, economic, political and cultural debates 

• respects children, along with adults, as citizens of their societies: they have a stake now, as well as in the future, in what happens in their lives 

• recognises the unique and invaluable contribution that children can make to building the society around them 

• leads to multiple benefits including personal development, improved decision-making and outcomes, greater protection, and enhanced capacity for citizenship and democratic engagement 

• offers a win-win outcome. 

Extract from UN Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment No. 12, ‘The Right of the Child to be heard’. The full document can be found at: http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/comments.htm