What is Flip The Script Friday?

Flip The Script Friday is an event that takes place on Fridays where we invite organisations/adults onto our website/social media to answer the questions that young people have for them.

Why is it a thing?

This is an opportunity for young people’s voices to be heard and to have their questions answered. But equally, it’s a chance to destigmatize the discussion of mental health, highlight the great work that organisations are doing and to make reaching out for support from them less intimidating.

This week…

We collaborated with, Children’s Legal Centre Wales (CLC Wales). CLC Wales was established in 2017 to help improve the lives of children (aged <18 years) in Wales, as well as their parents or carers. We provide information and services to raise awareness and understanding of children’s human rights and the law in Wales. Our work supports children’s access to their rights and entitlements, and to services in Wales.

Q&A Time

We had so many questions sent in by young people to our Instagram @platfform4yp and here are some of the highlights!

What services/projects do you provide for young people?

Our main tool for informing children and young people about their right and the law is information on our website that explains the law in a young person friendly way.  

We also use our social media platforms to promote areas where the law is different in Wales to the rest of the UK. The perfect example being your right to vote at 16.  

Finally, in September this year we are launching a new service to help those that need initial advice in relation to education. For example, unfair exclusions or issue with school transport.

What is your job role and what does it involve?

I am the Children’s Legal Centre Manager and I’m hosted by the School of Law at Swansea University. My day-to-day work involves the planning and development of existing and new projects, working with volunteer students, writing fundraising applications and maintaining the website and social media.

Why did you choose to go into this profession?

I’ve always been fascinated in Children’s Rights and couldn’t imagine doing anything more fulfilling than support young people to receive what they are entitled to. I also love working in the university as being surrounded by so many clever people challenges me every day!

How do you get into the profession that you are in?

I did an Undergraduate and Master’s degree at Cardiff University in Education and then worked in the third sector for almost a decade at places like Barnardo’s Cymru and the NPT Children’s Rights Unit. 

How does children’s law affect someone’s mental health? 

Understanding the law is vital for people, especially young people to be in control of their own lives and futures. This control unpins good mental health.

Are there any changes that you would make within children’s law? If yes, what are they and why would you change them? 

I’m proud to live in Wales, as a country we have already made lots of progressive changes to the law that positively impact children and young people. For example, all primary aged children are entitled to free school meals and there is no longer the defence of reasonable punishment (in layman’s terms the Smacking Ban). That being said, we can always do more, and I would love to see Wales go further than the Rights of Child and Young Persons Measure, which says minister must have due regard for children’s rights, and enshrine the UNCRC in law.

What is your favourite thing about the work you do?

The people – I work with the best people!

If any, what is one thing you would change about your profession?

All the work we do is grant funded by charitable funding and if I could change one thing it would be not always having to go through the funding application process.

How does law affect children and how is it different to adult law?

The law is devolved to Wales in most the areas that affect children, namely Education, Health and Social Care. Some simple examples of how the law may affect a young person is it outlines the processes if you need help because you have additional needs and it gives you the right to be heard in decision being made about your health care. The law is different for children in comparison to adults, as they need extra protections to ensure they are treated fairly in society. 

Why are there cases where children are tried as an adult? How does it work? Do you agree with it? 

The age of criminal responsibility is 10 in Wales (and England, as Criminal Law is not devolved to Wales meaning these decisions are made at Westminster rather than the Senedd). This means if you break the law and you are over the age of 10 you would be tried and sentenced like an adult who had committed the same crime. This does not mean you would end up in an adult prison – anyone convicted under the age of 18 goes into a secure children’s facility. The reason for it being age of criminal responsibility being 10 is that it is believed this is when a person can understand the difference between right and wrong and take responsibility for their actions. There is lots of debate around the age of criminal responsibly.  

What is one piece of advice that you would give to young people?

Knowledge is power. Research, read and talk to people to make sure you know the full picture in any situation. Once you are informed you are stronger to challenge the decision makers in your life.