All children and young people have the right to have their opinions listened to and taken seriously in all matters affecting them (Article 12, UNCRC).
Given the unique context of Armed Forces life, it is worrying that evidence suggests the voices of Armed Forces children and young people are often overlooked.
Children and young people’s voices
The children and young people we work with have told us they do not feel listened to. They have told us they want to be heard and they want others, including decision-makers, to understand their experiences:
- “For more people to understand what it feels like to be an Armed Forces child”
- “For the government to know what kids whose dads / mums are in the forces feel and to hear them”
- “Include young people in decisions that involve young people”
We would like to see:
- Recognition of children and young people in Armed Forces families as a seldom heard group whose distinct experiences merit specific consideration in all policy, practice and legislative decision-making processes affecting them.
- A targeted approach to undertaking meaningful participation and engagement with Armed Forces children and young people in all policy, practice and legislative decision-making processes affecting them.
- Meaningful implementation of the UNCRC for all children and young people including targeted measures for Armed Forces children and young people as a group who may face barriers to their participation and engagement.