In its October 2008 report on the UK, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern 'at the general climate of intolerance and negative public attitudes towards children, especially adolescents'.
Young Equals is campaigning to get protection from age discrimination for children and young people. It is supported by many charities and individual children and young people. If you have any evidence of age discrimination, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young Equals is coordinated by the Children's Rights Alliance for England. Members of the campaign steering group include the British Youth Council, The Children's Society, Families Need Fathers, National Children's Bureau, the National Youth Agency, NCVYS, Save the Children UK, UK Youth, Youth Access and YWCA England and Wales.
Organisations that have signed up to support the Young Equals campaign include:
- Action for Children
- The Centre for Identity Studies, Edge Hill University
- Children England
- Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)
- Pre-school Learning Alliance
- Teenage Cancer Trust
- UK Youth Parliament
- Law Centres Federation
Teenage Monologues: our experiences of age discrimination
One of CRAE’s young activists has been campaigning against age discrimination, and has found herself the inspiration for a play about teenagers’ experiences of age discrimination performed at the International Youth Arts Festival in Kingston upon Thames on 2 July:
I set up my Against The Discrimination and Mistreatment of Teenagers Facebook group out of frustration of not being allowed into shops in my school uniform, security guards constantly following me around and the Mosquito in my local area, which was forever bugging me! I never would have thought it would have made a difference at all. My friends reckoned there was no point in even making one but how wrong they were!
Since then, the opportunities that CRAE and the Children's Society have given me have inspired me to take more action! CRAE opened my eyes to other ways teenagers are discriminated against in society like in mental health care and not being taken seriously by the emergency services! Convinced this had to stop, I met up with a friend of mine from Bounce Theatre Company and we thought what better way to enlighten people and to change their opinions than through theatre!
The TeenAGE Monologues is a collection of eye opening stories and experiences from real teenagers debating and exploring the issue of teenage discrimination. From monologues about mental health to the Mosquito we have found there is a real outcry from young people to be heard. Through the development of The TeenAGE Monologues we hope to do that, and to convince people that teenage discrimination needs to stop!
By Jessica Robinson
Jessica’s Facebook group now has 2,092 members. To find out more, contact Carla Garnelas, senior policy and change officer (equality), at email@example.com.
April 2010 - Equality Act receives Royal Assent but excludes under-18s from age discrimination protection
The Equality Act 2010 received Royal Assent on 8 April 2010. The Act, which brings together all existing discrimination legislation and extends protection from unfair treatment, explicitly excludes children and young people from legal protection from unfair discrimination on the grounds of age. Despite the continued exclusion of children and young people from the ban on unfair age discrimination in goods and services, and the exclusion of children’s homes and schools from the age element of the public sector equality duty, Young Equals group, along with supportive MPs and Peers, has achieved the following through Parliamentary lobbying:
- Assurances from Government during a debate in the House of Lords that the guidance on the public sector equality duty will give practical assistance to public service providers on how they can implement the age provisions for children and young people.
- A public letter to Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) from Baroness Royall calling for the EHRC to consider the impact of equality legislation on children as it carries out its statutory monitoring, and urging the Commission to consider what information children should receive on the Equality Act.
February 2010 - The Unequal Equality Bill: evidence of unfair age discrimination against children and young people
Young Equals has been collecting evidence of unfair age discrimination as experienced by children and young people. In April 2009, we published Making the case, a report highlighting the systemic nature of age discrimination against children and young people in both public and private settings.
Here we present new evidence of the unfair treatment that children and young people experience on the grounds of age. Many of these testimonies are from an online survey that the Young Equals coalition ran between September and December 2009. Other evidence comes from e-mails sent to us by children, young people and parents and carers over the past 12 months. This evidence reinforces the position set out in Making the case - that children do experience unfair discrimination on the grounds of their age, and that fully including children in the age provisions of the Equality Bill would address unfair treatment in a range of contexts affecting the daily lives of children of all ages.
The Government has said that it is ‘firmly committed to eradicating age discrimination wherever it arises. No-one should be treated badly just because of their age.’ Yet, in a recent speech, Harriet Harman, the Minister for Equality and Women claimed that ‘… older people are the last remaining group that society deems it acceptable to discriminate against.’ Young Equals believes that such a statement undermines the legitimacy of children and young people’s experiences and reinforces the idea that they do not experience age discrimination. This is not the case and we call on the Government to amend the Equality Bill in order to extend legal protection from unfair discrimination on the grounds of age to children and young people.
Download the evidence here
Equality law guidance on age will include children
On 27 January, the Government told Parliament that guidance for the new public sector equality duty on age will include children. The duty’s provisions on age mean that public service providers will need to have due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people of all ages, including children. Government Minister, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, reassured Peers in the debate on the Equality Bill on 27 January. Baroness Royall confirmed that the guidance will include practical assistance for public service providers on how they can implement the age provisions for children. Although the positive duty on public services will include children, the Equality Bill excludes under-18s from age discrimination protection in services and public functions.
Carla Garnelas of the Children’s Rights Alliance for England said “We are pleased that the Government has confirmed that public service providers will be helped to implement the duty on age for children. We have gathered a considerable body of evidence of children experiencing unfair age discrimination in the private and public sector. Although the duty will affect public services, it is disappointing that the private sector will still be permitted to discriminate against children on the grounds of age.”
Read the debate here
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights calls for age discrimination protection for children
On 12 November 2009, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) called for children to be fully included in the Equality Bill and said that protection from unfair age discrimination muct be extended to children. The JCHR said “the total absence of protection against age discrimination for those under 18 in service provision… means that children who are subject to unjustified discrimination are left with little or no legal protection. This may prevent children enjoying full protection of their rights as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”.
CRAE gives evidence on Equality Bill
On Tuesday 2 June 2009, Mike Lindsay CRAE's national coordinator, gave oral evidence on the Equality Bill to the Public Bill Committee. CRAE was the only children's organisation invited to speak in a session that focused on age and disability and spoke on behalf of the Young Equals campaign. He challenged the Government's decision to exclude children from protection from harmful age discrimination in the Bill and questioned the exclusion of schools and children's homes from the age element of the public sector equality duty.
Making the case: why children should be protected from age discrimination and how it can be done
Young Equals has recently launched a publication called Making the case. The report challenges the Government's position that there is "little evidence" of harmful age discrimination against children and young people and questions why the Government is really failing to extend legal protection from age discrimination to under-18s. This dossier of evidence brings together a wide range of examples of age discrimination against children and young people. The document includes evidence from children, young people and adults gathered as part of the Young Equals Day of Action, held in August 2008.
Download Making the case
Download the Young Equals press release
No matter how old you are, sign up to show you support Young Equals!
Public and commercial services are not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of race, sex, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
We want this protection to be extended so that public and commercial services cannot discriminate on the grounds of age.
In 2005, the Government set up a review of discrimination law. CRAE's national co-ordinator was a member of the reference group.
Throughout the past three years we have lobbied Government Ministers and civil servants to try and persuade them to outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services.
Other countries like Australia, Finland and Sweden already prohibit age discrimination.
We have also been pushing for a new duty on public authorities (schools, health services, police, social services and libraries) to promote the human dignity and equal worth of all people, as well as encourage participation in decision-making and positive images of children and young people.
The Equality Bill was published at the end of April 2009. The Government is not convinced that children and young people should receive any new protection.