Children’s Commissioner notes ‘little change’ on Child Rights in SA
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Children’s Commissioner notes ‘little change’ on Child Rights in SA

by Freya Lucas

January 06, 2023

There has been little change in the way Children’s Rights are respected or acknowledged in South Australia, Children’s Commissioner, Helen Connolly said. 


Ms Connolly’s comments came in mid December, coinciding with the release of her annual series of reports on South Australia’s progress toward meeting recommendations made by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child


The recommendations relate to concerns the Committee has in relation to Australian children and young people. As a signatory to the international UN Convention on Child Rights, Australia, and hence each state and territory, has an obligation to report on progress being made by governments and service providers to meet the international standards expected. 


Each of the progress reports prepared by the Commissioner looks closely at the UN Committee’s recommendations using a status rating that indicates ‘clear evidence of progress’, ‘some evidence of progress’ or ‘no evidence of progress’. Although the suite of reports show ‘some evidence of progress’ across the majority of areas, there is still a long way to go before South Australia can be considered to have met all its international obligations in relation to child rights. 


The suite of reports measure progress across seven child rights areas reviewed on behalf of the approximately 369,400* children and young people (under 18 years) living in South Australia, namely: 



The reports list the initiatives and programs that have been introduced to address areas of concern, and outline where gaps and shortfalls remain.


Australia continues to do poorly in relation to the age of criminal responsibility, which at 10 years is the lowest of all developed countries. The UN has repeatedly asked Australia to raise this age to 14 years and come into line with the rest of the developed world. 


There is also the need to monitor and address the long-term health, wellbeing, economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and young people. 


“Although some progress has been made, South Australia’s State government agencies must continue to work to address the issues outlined in these reports,” Ms Connolly said. 


“There does appear to be greater awareness in relation to what needs to be done, but there is still a reluctance to take actions and make changes at the systemic level which will improve the quality of South Australian children and young people’s lives.” 


For more information about the work of the South Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People go to:

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