Young citizen: rights and responsibilities

Everybody has rights and responsibilities and children are not exempt from these rights. The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) defines a child as “any human being below the age of eighteen years”. Children rights includes: right to survival, cared and raised well; to live with a family, protected, provided food, educated, health care etc.

These rights are given from birth and increase as they mature in life. Let us understand these rights age-wise.

From birth:

  • A right to survival
  • Cared and raised weak
  • Protected, provided shelter and food
  • Have a deposit account or current account  

Your rights

Three years

  • 15 hours of childcare a week
  • 30 hours funded childcare if their patient earn a certain amount

Four years

  • A child can start full time education in a reception class at the age of four.

Five years

  • A child must start her or his education at this age.

Ten years

  • At the age of 10, a child can be found guilty of a crime under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. S/he can be convicted of a criminal offence but will be tried in a youth court unless the offence is serious, such as murder.

Eleven years

  • Some banks allow children aged 11 or over to open a bank account, but not one with an overdraft.

Fourteen years

  • Get a part time job as permitted under local authority for maximum 2hrs on a school day
  • Work up to five hours on Saturdays
  • Order soft drinks from the bar £1,000
  • Wearing a seatbelt becomes their responsibility.

Fifteen years

  • Addition to the above, they can work up to eight hours on Saturdays
  • They can view, rent or buy a 15 rated film
  • If convicted, they can be sentenced to up to two years in a young offenders institute.

Sixteen years S/he can:

  • Give consent to medical, dental and surgical treatment
  • Join the armed forces
  • Get married or leave home (with parental consent)
  • Leave school (provided you turn 16 by the end of the summer holidays.
  • Access free full-time further education or take a year off for training or study
  • Claim benefit and obtain a National Insurance number
  • Apply for legal aid; drink a beer, wine, or cider with a meal in a pub or restaurant if accompanied by an adult;
  • Obtain a provisional licence and ride a 50cc moped; work as a street trader and/or sell scrap metal; choose a doctor
  • Work full time if they’ve left school
  • Pay for prescription charges
  • Order a passport
  • Receive a youth rehabilitation order if convicted of a criminal offence
  • Play the National Lottery
  • Buy premium bonds
  • Fly a glider.

Seventeen years

  • You can become a blood donor leave their body for medical study
  • Drive most kinds of vehicles (as long as accompanied by someone age 21+ if they only have a provisional licence);
  • Drive alone if they pass their driving test
  • Apply for a private pilot’s licence for a plane, helicopter, gyroplane, hot air balloon and airship
  • Be interviewed by the police without an adult present and be given a reprimand or a warning; be sent to a remand centre or prison if charged with an offence and not granted bail.

Eighteen years is a ‘age of majority’ you can:

  • Buy alcoholic drinks in a pub or a bar
  • Pawn items in a pawn shop
  • Have a tattoo
  • Drive lorries weighing up to 7.5 tonnes, with a trailer attached
  • Vote in local and general elections
  • Stand for election as an MP, local councillor or Mayor
  • Serve on a jury, be tried in a magistrates court and be jailed if convicted of a criminal offence
  • See their original birth certificate if they were adopted
  • Make a will
  • Get married without parental consent
  • View, rent or buy an 18 rated film; buy fireworks
  • Place a bet in a betting shop/casino
  • Buy cigarettes, rolling tobacco and cigarette papers
  • Open a bank account.

Twenty-one years

  • Apply to adopt a child
  • Supervise a learner driver (with the rights driving licence)
  • Apply for licences to fly commercial transport aeroplanes, helicopters, gyroplanes and airships; drive buses, road rollers and lorries over 7.5 tonnes with a trailer (with the right licences).