19 Sep 2012

COMMISSIONER for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, has welcomed the launch of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland as an important step in making sure children are safer and better protected.

Ms Lewsley-Mooney’s core work is to promote and safeguard the rights and best interests of children and young people.

“The launch of the Safeguarding Board is a welcome move by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Assembly,” said the Commissioner.

"I have been monitoring the progress towards establishing the board, and have provided ongoing advice as the legislation and statutory guidance have been developed.

Ms Lewsley-Mooney particularly welcomed comments by the Chair of the Safeguarding Board, Hugh Connor, when he said: “[We need to]ensure that children’s voices are at the centre of all that is done by the organisations and professionals who together make up the child protection system.”

She said: “Too often in the past children have not been listened to, with tragic outcomes. The needs, best interests and voices of children and young people should be core to the work of the Safeguarding Board and all its member agencies.

“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly outlines children and young people’s rights to protection and to be listened to, and I am delighted that the ministers for health, education, and justice in launching the Board have highlighted their commitment to safeguarding children and young people.”

“Protecting children is everybody’s business and we must all ensure that we contact   the relevant authorities when we suspect a child may be at risk.”

Ms Lewsley-Mooney said that she looked forward to continuing her engagement with the Safeguarding Board as it develops.