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EDFD672 Childrens Rights Education

Unit rationale, description and aim

Leaders of educators, families, communities and children - whether in the early years or final years of youth, have legal, ethical and moral responsibilities to seek ways to not only prevent the threats to child safety before (and as) they occur but to also establish, assert and energise communities to institute and maintain an environment that is "self-protective", where the threats to wellbeing cannot take hold. This unit recognises that all professionals in their work with children and young people play a significant role in advocating on their behalf, assuring their safety and supporting their development. This unit explores the responsibilities of professionals to advocate for children and their human rights. This unit will examine local and international mandates in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC, 1989) and will explore strategic approaches to actualising an institutional culture of child's safety through voice inclusive practice. The rights of all children and young people will be considered including an exploration of the experiences of children and young people who are marginalised. As the wider community becomes more receptive to supporting and acting on the child's rights, a key intention of this unit is to provide a beginning point for the enactment of such change.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - identify the key Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that support the citizenship of all children the human rights that are particular to all children including diverse groups of children and the roles and responsibilities of professionals in enabling and supporting the child’s rights (GA1, GA2, GA3; SCYP 2.1 4.1, 4.2, 5.3, 6.1)

LO2 - understand the current and future of establishing child safe, child flourishing environments and the ethical and moral responsibilities of professionals to prevent the threats to child safety before (and as ) they occur (GA1, GA2, GA3; SCYP 2.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.2, 5.3, 6.2)

L03 - assert and energize communities to institute and maintain an environment that is protective of children and young people’s wellbeing through long term change strategies to empower all members of the community to support the safety of children and young people (SCYP 2.1, 6.1, 6.2)

LO4 - encourage the recognition of all children as competent beings who possess particular interests, capacities and vulnerabilities (GA1, GA3; SCYP 2.1, 41, 4.3, 6.2)

LO5 - plan for the realisation of rights for all children through formulation of strategic programs and professional practices (GA2, GA3) GA4; SCYP 2.1, 4.3, 5.4, 6.1, 6.2).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 


Alongside the learning outcomes for this unit, on successful completion, students should have developed the ability to:

ACU SCYP 2.     Foster child-safe organisational cultures and environments through leadership, governance, and practice

2.1     Knows what enables and encourages child-safe institutional/organisational cultures and environments and approaches that promote them 

ACU SCYP 4.     Facilitate children and young people’s engagement in child-centred participatory processes, including those that enable and respond to disclosures and complaint

4.1     Demonstrates an understanding of child and adolescent development and the needs of different groups of children and young people and applies them in their participatory processes

4.2     Involves children and young people and includes their perspectives in addressing and preventing risk and promoting protective factors in institutions/organisations

4.3     Knows and utilises the resources available to help adults ask for—and respond to—the views of children and young people about safety within institutions/organisations

ACU SCYP 5.     Apply sex education and sexual abuse prevention models to address the safety needs of children and young people

5.2     Demonstrates skills in being able to talk in developmentally appropriate and safe ways with young people about sexuality, relationships, safety, and help-seeking

5.3     Addresses the cultural safety associated with particular groups of children and young people including those who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, who are from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and the safety of those with disabilities

5.4     Knows the learning needs of children and young people to prevent, manage and seek help when exposed to risks of harm

ACU SCYP 6.     Respond appropriately to the ongoing needs of children and young people who have experienced abuse and manage the impact of this abuse on other children and young people, staff, families and the institution/organisation

6.1     Knows the resources available to help adults ask for—and respond to—the views of children and young people about safety within organisations

6.2     Knows and demonstrates an appreciation of the impacts of abuse on children and young people, and the vicarious impacts for other children, families, staff and the institution/organisation


Topics will include:

  • Identification and analysis of international treaties and documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its relationship to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 
  • Current tensions, debates and research relating to the application of children’s rights in context
  • Building a culture of safety through voice inclusive practice, child competence and agency 
  • The role of a Child Rights perspective in the prevention of child abuse
  • Key lessons from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  • The application of policies, procedures and codes of ethical practice into professional practice 
  • Definitions and developments of rights based service provision in child related professions.
  • Children as global rights holders: provision, participation and protection 
  • The notion of child voice in contexts and the relative engagement with children as active participants in decision-making
  • Working and communicating with the diversity of children in multiple contexts 
  • The role of professionals as leading advocates for children in the community
  • Strategies for enhancing rights-based practice. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in multi-mode (i.e. delivered online and in face-to-face contexts) and uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with the enactment of a rights respecting framework for supporting children and young people. Students will explore key issues and develop a deeper contextualised understanding of child rights, voice and agency through online asynchronous activities and where appropriate synchronous online webinars. Where appropriate, part or all of the unit may be delivered face to face. The use of LEO will be integral to the unit. Other activities may include lectures and reading, self-directed learning, participant critical reflection against relevant professional standards with particular reference to case studies, engagement with the literature, dialogue and interrogation of concepts, theories and practices, and the application to current professional contexts.

Directed study includes activities such lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours is private study and practice and assessment preparation.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are mapped to demonstrate progressive achievement of the unit learning outcomes and the related Graduate Attributes and Child safe capabilities. This enables students to progressively demonstrate achievement against the course learning outcomes. The assessment strategy for the unit is designed to provide students opportunities to demonstrate achievement of the unit learning outcomes that combine formative and summative assessment practices in relation to the course learning outcomes and related professional practice. Task 1 assesses the student’s understanding of research and national and international child rights frameworks and the capacity to apply this understanding to child safe organisational cultures. Task 2 requires students to synthesise their learning and generate a context-specific program to support and enhance the professional knowledge, practice and engagement of other professionals. 

A range of assessment procedures are used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements.

The assessment will relate directly to the achievement of the outcomes above. Some flexibility may be exercised in the assessment tasks to align with the needs of the student cohort and their professional situation.

The total assessment will be equivalent to 5.000 words (Graduate Certificate). In order to pass this unit, participants will be required to submit and pass all assessment tasks.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Critical analysis of relevant rights related documents and the implications for establishing a rights respecting culture of safety in a specific professional context (2,000 words)


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4


Assessment Task 2

Develop a fit-for-purpose child safety professional development package with a core focus on advocating for the human rights of children. 

(3,000 words or equivalent)


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5


Representative texts and references

Jones, P., & Welch, S. (2010). Rethinking children's rights: Attitudes in contemporary society. London: Continuum International. 

Coates, J., & Vickerman, P. (2013). A review of methodological strategies for consulting children with special educational needs in physical education. European Journal of Special Needs Education28(3), 1–15.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. (2016). Creating child safe institutions. Australian Government.

Invernizzi, A., & Williams, J. (Eds.) (2008). Children and citizenship. Los Angeles; London: SAGE. Lansdown, G., & Bernard van Leer Foundation. (2005). Can you hear me? The right of young children to participate in decisions affecting them. The Hague: Bernard van Leer Foundation.

Mayall, B. (2002). Towards a sociology of childhood. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press.

Moody, Z. (2014). Transnational treaties on children’s rights: Norm building and circulation in the twentieth century. Paedagogica Historica50(1–2), 151–164.

Sargeant, J., & Harcourt, D. (2012). Doing ethical research with children. Maidenhead, UK; New York: Open University Press/McGraw Hill.

Sargeant, J. (2014). Adults’ perspectives on “tweens” capacities: participation or protection? Children Australia. 39(01), 9–16.

Sargeant, J., & Gillett-Swan, J. K. (2015). Empowering the disempowered through voice-inclusive practice: Children’s views on adult-centric educational provision. European Educational Research Journal14(2), 177–191.

Representative Websites 

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

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