Centre for Rural Childhood

Voice of the Child

  • Do you work with children in Scotland?
  • Do you work in health, education, social work, legal or voluntary sectors?
  • Do you need to know about how the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 affects children?

What’s on this site

  1. A quick explanation of the philosophy and four principles in the Convention with links to further information
  2. A report on awareness-raising through action-based research

The Centre for Rural Childhood

The Centre for Rural Childhood (CRC) was established at Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands in 2007 and is underpinned by a commitment to the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Centre’s activities include:

  • Contributing to the development of policy and practice on all aspects of childhood from primarily, but not exclusively, a rural context
  • Providing research, consultancy, teaching, training and the provision of an evidence-based approach to the development of policy and practice locally, nationally and internationally

About the Convention

Many overwhelming challenges to the status of children in most regions of the world exist. As the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and the first globally-binding treaty protecting children’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights during peacetime as well as armed conflict, the Convention is a success story within the United Nations framework.

Since entering into force on 2 September 1990 the concept of involving children as participants and citizens has been thoroughly investigated and explored in Scotland and across the globe. Yet in many respects we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible in seeking to ensure that children actively contribute to the formation of law, policy and practice regulating and influencing their everyday lives.

The areas in which progress has been made include: research, advocacy, campaigning, community development, political dialogue, democratic participation in schools and peer education. The prerequisites of childhood are comprehensively defined by the Convention, as are the obligations of individuals, parents, communities and governments to meet the needs of children and fulfil their rights. Children, wherever they may be, are social (not to mention emotional, moral, spiritual and cultural) actors with legitimate claims to a full range of human rights.

Autonomy of the child

An underlying philosophy of the Convention is that children are not merely passive recipients, entitled to adult protective care. On the contrary, they are subjects of rights entitled to be involved, in accordance with their evolving capacities, in decisions affecting them. All children, like all adults, have unique perspectives on what is happening around them. As the experts in their own lives, children are entitled to exercise increasing responsibility for decisions they are competent to take on their own behalf in accordance with their evolving capacities. Article 12, together with Articles 5 and 13-17, introduces a philosophy of respect for children as active participants in their own lives. The Scottish government is obliged to fulfil, protect and respect the right of children to express their views, as individuals and as a group, in all matters that affect them in accordance with their evolving capacities. All due weight and seriousness must, by virtue of the Convention, be afforded to them.


Principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989:


Principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989:

Project Blog

Awareness Raising Event for Article 12 UNCRC in Edinburgh

On Wednesday, March 23rd 2011, the Centre for Rural Childhood hosted an event to raise awareness of article 12 UNCRC [...]

Final Seminar: Perth College UHI

Our final seminar, held at our ‘home ground’ as part of a series of events in Diversity Awareness Week. Again [...]

Second Seminar at Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue

A busy seminar that has something of a slant towards the legal sector. The survey findings prompt much discussion and [...]

Seminar at Inverness College

An interesting meeting that has something of a slant towards education across all levels, from early years right up to [...]

Seminar at STUC Centre, Glasgow

A small but lively group representing diverse interests. Again the home schooling issue receives attention with a primary head teacher [...]

Seminar at Shetland Recreational Trust, Lerwick, Shetland

A very busy seminar with a slant towards the healthcare sector. The health examples and issues were subject to great [...]

Edinburgh Training and Conference Venue

The first seminar of our ‘tour’. A very interesting mix of people and organisations from across the target sectors and [...]