The helpline will be the first of its kind in the UK to be rolled out on a national basis and will give children and young people the opportunity to get help on issues important to them if they feel they are not being listened to or getting the support they need. The helpline will be available through free phone lines, free texting, e-mail and instant messaging.
The Advocacy and Advice Service will work with and compliment other advice services and helplines such as Childline which have a prominent safeguarding role.
The announcement comes on the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). At a celebratory event to mark the UNCRC anniversary the Minister also launched a major new Action Plan ‘Getting it Right’ which sets out how the Welsh Assembly Government will make important steps to make children and young people’s rights a reality over the next 5 years in Wales.
Key actions in the plan include:
- Addressing negative perceptions of children and young people particularly in the media – through promoting positive achievements of children and young people and celebrating the success that they achieve
- Working to eliminate all types of bullying - through new anti bullying guidance and the promotion of initiatives such as anti bullying week
- Ensuring all children have the right to play – through developing a new play policy and providing more opportunities for children and young people to engage in the music, arts and sport.
First Minister Rhodri Morgan who also addressed the 20th Anniversary UNCRC event added:
“My Government has made it clear that we are determined to ensure that our children and young people can access and enjoy their rights.
“We want to make sure that children and young people can get help when they need it from people who can support and represent them and their views.
“We are working hard to help the children and young people of Wales to live healthier, more enjoyable and fulfilling lives. I am optimistic that the policies and programmes we have in place will help deliver our obligations to the children and young people of Wales.”
Jane Hutt said:
“In Wales we use the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as the basis for all our work with and for children and young people. We are committed to giving a legislative basis to this work, and the First Minister recently announced our intention to explore further the possibility of introducing a Measure to embed the principles of the UNCRC into law on behalf of Welsh children.
“We must support children and young people through difficult times when they may need more support. Articles 12 and 13 of the UNCRC state that children have the right to have their voices heard and to receive and share information.
“The advocacy and advice service I have announced today supports children and young people to do just that. It will be more than an information service. It will provide advice and find services for children and young people to help them in all sorts of situations. It is about giving them practical assistance and support when things become particularly difficult and if they feel they are not getting the help they need or are entitled to.”
20 November 2009