18 Oct 2004

NICCY wants your voice to be heard to make a difference.

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY), Nigel Williams, wants everybody to shout and help make a difference to the lives of children and young people in Northern Ireland.

Today, the Commissioner launched NICCY’s 14 draft priorities – and he wants everybody in Northern Ireland to tell him what they think of these priorities.

Over the next three months these priorities will be put out to an extensive consultation. At Belfast’s Blackstaff House Studios, Mr Williams outlined how the process will shape the future work of NICCY.

“When my team and I conclude this consultation,” he said, “we will know the issues we need to focus on for the next three years.

“But to make sure we have the right focus, we need everyone in Northern Ireland – and especially children and young people – to tell us their views on these priorities.”

The Commissioner has been in office for 12 months, and the consultation on the priorities represents the culmination of an intensive start-up period.

“Queen’s University, Belfast was asked to undertake a major research project to look at how Northern Ireland compared to the international standard of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Mr Williams. “This included research with over 1,000 young people that sought their views and engaged in discussion with many organisations working with young people.

“And in addition we looked at complaints we have received from children and young people, and those closest to them, about the services they receive and the problems they have. We also listened closely to the views of the NICCY Youth Panel.

“However, for everyone involved with NICCY our focus is to make sure that these priorities - when we and our partners act upon them - make a real difference to children and young people in Northern Ireland.”

NICCY’s consultation will see every household in Northern Ireland receive a specially designed consultation mailing which ties in with the SHOUT theme. More detailed consultation packs are also available.

“As we want to make sure everyone gives their views – whether they are 5, 10, 15 or 50 – we are sending a special consultation SHOUT megaphone to every household in Northern Ireland,” said Mr Williams.

“People can respond using freepost, phone, e-mail and even text. We have also made sure that anyone who wishes to respond via the Internet can go on to a specially created section of our website (www.niccy.org/shout) where the full consultation pack can be viewed.”

The theme for the consultation is SHOUT.

ENDS

For further information:

Please contact Kieran Donnelly or Una Devlin at Morrow Communications on 02890 393837 or 07769 702275 or via email to  u.devlin@morrowcommunications.com

Notes to Editors:

Details of the work of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People can be found online at www.niccy.org.

  • NICCY’s mission is t
    Safeguard and promote the rights and best interests of children and young people by listening to them and working with them to challenge and change the world in which they live.
  • NICCY works on behalf of everyone under 18. The Commissioner can also work on behalf of people up to aged 21 if they are disabled or have been in the care of health and social services.
  • The 14 draft priority areas NICCY launched today are-
    a. Having your say
    b. Bullying
    c. Play and Leisure
    d. Road Safety and school transport
    e. Special educational needs and autism
    f. Children with disability and the allied health therapies they receive
    g. Children with mental health issues
    h. Children and poverty
    i. Children and the troubles
    j. Child protection
    k. Children and crime
    l. Physical punishment
    m. Knowing your rights and responsibilities
    n. Implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

The background to these issues and NICCY’s particular concerns are set out in the full consultation document.