Letter: Children must be listened to

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PETER NEWELL'S article 'What a way to treat a child' (16 January) on the Government's apparent lack of regard for the needs of children highlights the need for a Children's Rights Commissioner, something the NSPCC, along with other leading childcare organisations, is campaigning for.

We believe that establishing a commission will give children a voice when the Government makes policies and decisions that affect their lives. The commissioner would also oversee the implementation of the UN Convention, co-ordinate the Government's policy on children's issues and ensure that the complaints procedures are working for children.

The NSPCC, like Peter Newell, is concerned that despite the Government's much- publicised acceptance of principles about the importance of listening to children, it has actually created few opportunities for children to make their voices heard. The creation of a Children's Rights Commission is one way in which the Government could prove that it is taking its commitment to the UN Convention seriously.

Christopher Brown

Director and Chief Executive NSPCC

London EC1