Legal Studies Essay - Draft Children's rights are a serious and controversial legal issue, involving young people and the law. This issue is also made very unclear because of the different or uncertain interpretation of what a child is (because definitions tend to vary from country to country, or from industry to industry). Another thing to note is some of the laws which are meant to protect children are unknown by the majority of the public, industrial, and or commercial sector, and the courts or institutions that are designed to administer young people's rights are inappropriate, confusing, or ineffective. Since its adoption in 1989 after more than sixty years of promotion, the United Nations Convention on the rights of the Child has been authorised by more governments (all except Somalia and the US) than any other human rights instrument. Although almost 99% of the world's children live in countries whose governments have committed themselves to the UN (United Nations) International Convention on the Rights of the Child this still has not stop child exploitation and other types of abuses of children which infringe on the child's rights, which has been exposed by the UN reporters and working groups who monitor countries compliance with the international standards of human rights.
The definition of a child is as follows, "A child is a person and not a sub person over whom the parent has an absolute possessory interest. The term "child" does not necessarily mean minor but can include adult children as well as adult non dependent children. Children are generally afforded the basic rights embodied by the Constitution, born within a marriage or not, but excludes children not yet born. There are both state and federal sources of child-rights law," (web). One of the many issues involved with children's rights is child labor which has been around since the last century, in countries throughout the world.
The main types of child labor were in mines, cotton mills, industrial factories, domestic services, and shops, while in other places these exploitations were mainly in agricultural areas such as farming, herding, and fishing. Trade unions in Europe began to raise the issue of child labor during the 19 th centaury and ultimately began to call for a ban on child labor in factories and other areas which could be hazardous to their health, as well as the trade unions human rights organizations also helped join the fight against child labor. Nowadays in most industrial countries including Australia, child labor has been very marginal but has never entirely disappeared, especially in the clothing and footwear industries which in recent times account for the majority of child labor cases. There are a variety of reasons why children have to work these include population pressures, rapid urbanization, lack of access to schools, famine and armed conflicts, but by far the most common reason is poverty. However, in terms of a company point of view child labor is caused by pressure from other companies to become more competitive, and win a greater domestic or international share in the market. The common company perception of a child is "a docile and a cheap source of labor, which may be enough to give a company a slight edge over competitors or provide an opportunity for companies to increase their profits." (Stop Child Labor - Campaign Document, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
) Child abuse is another contentious issue mainly because of the wide area it covers, which includes physical and mental abuse, mistreatment of a child (which in itself can be widely defined) as well as sexual and emotional abuse. Child abuse has a huge impact on children's mental and even physical development, and one of the legislations brought in to prevent child abuse is the mandatory reporting of child abuse which is in the Victorian Children and Young Persons Act of 1989 which states "A person referred to in any of the paragraphs of sub-section (1 C)... who, in the course of practicing his or her profession or carrying out the duties of his or her office, position or employment... forms the belief that a child is in need of protection on a ground referred to in paragraph (c) or (d) of section 63 must notify (the Health and Community Services Department)... ." and by the end of 1994 the legislation would extend to all groups within Victoria.
The effect this legislation has had with regards to the reports of child abuse are that there has been a 52% increase of state wide child abuse cases in Victoria as of the 3 rd of March 1994, and latter that same year this increased to 55%, which is seven times the amount that had been anticipated by HCS prior to this legislation being introduced. These figures were also able to be broken down into categories of child abuse which were as follows: Emotional abuse +53% Physical abuse +48% Sexual abuse +35% Neglect +31% This shows the legislature has been effective with regards to the reporting of child abuse, which therefore as been able to set a precedents in the courts as to how issues such as this will be dealt with and what sort of punishment is to be given to the perpetrator. As a result this legislation has potentially reduced child abuse in the community. When children's rights have been breeches there are a number of consequences that could take place for the child, and one of these is the resorting to criminal activity, which could bring them into contact with the police and the Juvenile Court. The Juvenile Court's function is so not just administer the law but also to provide rehabilitation to young offenders so they will not re-offend, and provide care correction and guidance to young offenders, as well as punishment. Another important implementation of children's rights is a court system which is able to not just punish offenders but also to rehabilitate, and provide guidance for them as well, and considering that children are certainly in need of this it is important that this is done probably, because in some cases child abuse or other infringements on children's rights has led them to commit certain crimes in the first place, and these issues would need to be dealt with first if the child is able to first recover from the ordeal, and then become a asset to the community he or she lives in, but if this is not address then the child will continue to end up in and out of goal, and eventually waste their live away.
The main difference between a Juvenile Court and an adult court is that the Juvenile Court has a much wider jurisdiction in terms of the offenses it can hear. In addition to its criminal jurisdiction, the Juvenile Court may deal with children of any age up to 18 in what are called care proceedings. Proceedings are based on the idea that the child is in need of care, protection, or control because one of a number of conditions is satisfied. These conditions include neglect or assault by parents but also include the fact that the juvenile has committed an offense. A juvenile who commits an offense can come before the Juvenile Court either in criminal proceedings or in care proceedings, although the court may not take action in care proceedings unless satisfied that the juvenile is in need of care, protection, or control; the fact that an offense has been committed is not on its own sufficient enough. This combination of two different roles in the juvenile court has been a source of difficulty and controversy for many years, particularly because the court in its criminal jurisdiction is required by law to "have regard to the welfare of the child or young person" and, if necessary to remove him / her from unsatisfactory surroundings for his / her own good, despite the nature of the offense which he / she might have committed.
A juvenile can be removed from the care of his parents and possibly be required to reside in an institution (known as a community home), maybe even for a period of several years, and maybe even under conditions of security. The decisions made by the Juvenile Court can also be appealed to the Supreme Court Although there have been numerous measures put in to stop the abuse and exploitation of Children this still happens, and one of the main reasons for this is because of the law regarding some issues of children's rights which is unclear and needs to be defined more precisely. Another change which should be taken into consideration is making sure that all countries are exactly or extremely close in their appliance and interpretation of the law with regards to all issues concerning children's rights, not just the issues which suits that country or government.