1. Having an identity is a right
Article 7 of the UNCRC says you have the right to be registered when you are born and given a name and a nationality. These things make up part of who you are.
Your Young Scot National Entitlement Card is a way that you can validate and prove your age in Scotland. If you haven’t got one, have lost or broken it, or want to update your photo find out how to get it sorted.
2. You have the right to have your opinion listened to on things that affect you
Article 12 of the UNCRC says that you have the right to express your views freely in matters that affect you, and that your views should be taken seriously by those making decisions.
In Scotland, there are a few ways you can have your say on important topics that affect you and other children and young people. Find out about them.
3. You have the right to free speech
The UNCRC’s Article 13 guarantees you the right to express yourself and share information, but only if you are respecting other people’s rights and reputations. Sometimes you might have this right restricted if it affects national security, public health or public order.
In the UK, hate crime laws protect people from being threatened, verbally abused or insulted, and harassed, even on online platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Instagram or Twitter.
4. Children under 13 have a right to not work
Article 32 of the UNCRC protects children from work that is hazardous to their health or affects their education or development.
It encourages countries to set a minimum age for when children can work but does not set an age limit itself.
In the UK, you can have a part-time job from the age of 13; and work full-time from the age of 16. However, children of any age can work in television, theatre or modelling.
You can have a look at the Scottish Government guidance on working in the performing arts for more information.
5. Everyone under 18 is covered by the UNCRC
True – but not necessarily everywhere
Article 1 of the UNCRC states that the articles apply to everyone under the age of 18 – unless the country they live in says that you reach adulthood at a younger age.
In the UK people are considered adults when they turn 18, but this age is different in some countries.
Find out at what age countries around the world define adulthood.
In Scotland, the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991 grants certain legal rights to young people at the age of 16 which are not granted to young people in the rest of the UK until they are 18.
6. You have the right to privacy
Article 16 guarantees you the right to not have your privacy, family, home or correspondence interfered with unless there is good reason or a legal necessity (e.g. there is concern that someone may come to harm if the information is not shared).
Privacy can take lots of forms, for example, you should be able to speak to your doctor or a teacher in confidence (there are some cases where they may need to share information with other people, for example, if they believe you to be in danger), and not have your letters or other personal communications opened by other people.
This extends to online spaces and your personal data – check out Young Scot’s Digi Know page for lots of information about looking after your privacy online.
7. You have the right to healthy food
Not only food but clean water and medical care. You and the rest of your family should also be able to find out about healthy eating and food hygiene. Thanks, Article 24!
8. Under 18s cannot be tried in adult courts if they commit a crime
Articles 37 and 40 in the UNCRC talk about children’s rights if they are accused or convicted of breaking the law and how children should be treated when being punished or detained.
Article 40 also suggests that countries decide a minimum age at which children can be charged with breaking the law – this is called criminal responsibility.
In Scotland, the age of criminal responsibility is 12.
Any child under the age of criminal responsibility is not considered to understand enough about the law or crimes to be held responsible for their actions in law. However, if they are causing harm to themself or others, or if their behaviour can’t be controlled, they may still get referred to a Children’s Hearing.
A Children’s Hearing is where a group of trained volunteers will decide if a child needs any extra care or support.
Children aged 12-16 who commit a crime will also be referred to a Children’s Hearing unless the crime is very serious. If the crime is very serious the person may go through an adult court. Young people aged 16 and 17 will usually be treated similarly to adults and taken to an adult court.
Anyone under 18 who is taken to an adult court for a trial will be dealt with as quickly as possible, they are a priority for the courts.
They may also be supported by a variety of people, such as solicitors, social workers, and advocates who will make sure they understand what is happening and are treated well.
Citizens Advice Scotland has a lot of useful info if you want to read more.
9. You have the right not to be recruited into the British armed forces until you are 17
Article 38 of the UNCRC encourages all countries to take steps to ensure no one under the age of 15 is recruited into the armed forces.
In the UK, you may join the armed forces from the age of 16 (the application process can start a few months before you turn 16). If you are under 18, you need parental consent to join the armed forces, and you will not be deployed to the front line where combat happens until you are 18.
10. You have the right to know your rights
Article 42 commits governments to make the UNCRC known to children and adults alike. Read about all of the rights.
Visit the Activate Your Rights homepage to find out more about your rights.