We focus on a wide range of issues in relation to equality and the youth sector. In 2010 the one area we are focusing on is:
*The extension of the Equal Status Act to include those under 18
What do we want to achieve?
The extension of the Equal Status Act to include those under eighteen.
We believe in equality for all, which includes greater equality of treatment for young people in Irish society. At the moment our laws don’t give young people under eighteen the same rights as adults, which can lead to the discrimination of young people. Young people under the age of eighteen should not be treated as second class citizens by the State when it comes to vindicating and protecting their rights.
In recent years we have seen the consequences of the inferior status and protection given to young people in previous decades, most starkly in relation to young people in care. Equality in Law for Young People Under Eighteen While there has been progress in recent years with the development of the National Children’s Strategy, the National Children’s Office and the Children’s Ombudsman, there is still institutional discrimination against young people.
This means that young people can be legally discriminated against in the provision of goods and services, for example, a restaurant owner can legally refuse to serve young people under eighteen in their premises. Legislation in itself will not stamp out discrimination, but over time and if properly enforced, it can lead to a change in behaviour.
It is important that when negative stereotyping of young people is present, existing legislation is extended to include those under eighteen so it serves to counter discrimination of young people as well as adults.
To date there has been no progress on this issue.
What can I do?
As an organisation: Lobby Government
As an individual: Support us by engaging in debate with your local TD on this issue.
A resource pack on “Stereotyping of Young People”, developed by the Equality Authority and the National Youth Council of Ireland, was launched today March 12th by Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Children.
Representatives of the Fair Say Campaign also spoke at the launch. The Fair Say Campaign aims to challenge the representation of young people in the media.