In its role as convenor of the Australian Child Rights Taskforce, UNICEF Australia conducted a national consultation with children and young people (the national consultation) to inform the content of this report. UNICEF Australia met face to face with and heard from 527 children and young people ranging from four to 24 years of age, holding 58 consultations in 30 different geographical locations around Australia (see map on page 7).
In addition to meeting with general groups of children in classroom settings, the consultation methodology prioritised reaching specific groups of children and young people whose personal characteristics or lived experiences increase their vulnerability to rights abuses. These included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, children who identify as LGBTIQ+, asylum seeker and refugee children, and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Consultations were conducted with children and young people who have witnessed, experienced and lived with abuse and neglect, substance abuse and addiction, and poverty and homelessness; children with incarcerated parents; children and young people living in regional and remote areas; children who have withdrawn from mainstream school environments; young mothers; children with mental health diagnoses and children who have made suicide attempts; children and young people with experiences in outof-home care, and children in youth detention facilities.
Every effort was made to conduct consultations in situ, in the familiar environments where children and young people felt safe, comfortable and supported. Consultations were typically conducted under gum trees, on children’s play equipment, alongside basketball courts, on living room floors, at Saturday morning market stalls, and over breakfast, lunch and dinner.
At the end of every consultation, each participant was invited to write a message to the UN on how to make Australia a better place for all children and young people. These messages appear in each child’s and young person’s own handwriting throughout the pages of this report, and stand as powerful testimony to the personal experiences and insight of Australia’s children and young people.