Young people's rights

Mae'r cyngor hwn yn berthnasol i Cymru. Gweler cyngor ar gyfer Gweler cyngor ar gyfer Lloegr, Gweler cyngor ar gyfer Gogledd Iwerddon, Gweler cyngor ar gyfer Yr Alban

Children and young people have legal rights.

Proof of age

There are many schemes that provide cards to help prove your age. Many local authorities and local colleges run card schemes.

The national Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) does not issue cards itself but sets standards and approves other schemes. If a card has the PASS hologram it means that the card issuer has met strict standards set by PASS and that the card can be relied on. Make sure that any proof of age card you get shows the PASS hologram. For more information and for details of approved schemes, go to the PASS website at:


It's against the law to discriminate against anyone, including a child or young person, because of:

  • age

  • race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins

  • sex

  • disability

  • sexual orientation

  • religion or belief

  • gender reassignment

  • marriage or civil partnership

  • pregnancy or maternity leave

Some of the places where you are protected from discrimination include:

You are protected against discrimination whether you are buying something or getting it for free.

In certain circumstances, there are exceptions to these rules which mean that discrimination is allowed.

If you have experienced discrimination, you may be able to take action against the organisation or person responsible.

For more information about discrimination, see our discrimination pages.

Nationality and immigration

The law on nationality and immigration is complicated, and you should seek the help of an experienced adviser, for example, at Citizens Advice. Search for your nearest Citizens Advice.

Personal records

At any age, you have the right to see information kept about you, unless the person looking after the information considers you incapable of understanding the nature of the request you are making. If you are refused access to your records you can complain to the Information Commissioner.

As a parent you do not usually have the right to see information about your child kept on a computer record. This will only be allowed if:

  • the person looking after the information knows that the child has authorised the request or

  • the request is being made on behalf of a child or young person who is considered incapable of understanding the nature of the request

For more information on access to personal records, look at the Information Commissioner's Office website.

Smacking and other corporal punishment


As a parent, you don't have the legal right to smack your child.


No teacher in a school is allowed to inflict corporal punishment on a pupil of any age. 

The head teacher and teachers can use reasonable non-physical means to punish a pupil for unacceptable conduct or behaviour. Any punishment must be fair, reasonable and within the school’s policy. Examples of reasonable punishment are extra work during school hours or being told off.

A member of staff can use reasonable physical force to break up a fight between pupils or to stop pupils endangering themselves, other pupils or school property or to prevent a pupil from committing a criminal offence.

In care and other institutions

Corporal punishment must not be inflicted on any child or young person living in a children’s home, secure unit, foster home provided by the local authority or voluntary organisation, residential care home or young offender institution. If a child or young person lives in a private foster home, nursing or mental nursing home, or youth treatment centre, mild smacking is allowed as long as it does not leave a mark.

If you are concerned about the use of punishment, you should consult an experienced adviser, for example, at Citizens Advice. Search for your nearest Citizens Advice.

Registered childminders

Registered childminders are not allowed to smack a child in their care. 

If you are concerned about the use of punishment, you should seek the help of an experienced adviser, for example, Citizens Advice. Search for your nearest Citizens Advice.


Parents have the right to choose whether their child follows a religion at home and school, and, if so, which one. However, a child or young person may choose their own religion if they have sufficient understanding. If a parent considers the child's chosen religion to be harmful, a court can be asked to intervene.

There is a general requirement on schools to provide religious education but it is possible for an individual child to be withdrawn from religious education.

Further help




Helpline: 0800 1111 (24 hour free advice line)


Children and young people can ring or write, in confidence, if they need advice or are in trouble or danger. Childline can offer both support and practical help.


Childline Cymru/Wales

9th Floor

Alexandra House

Alexandra Road



Tel: 0870 336 2935

Helpline: 0800 1111 (24 hour free advice line)

Fax: 0870 336 2936



Wellington House

4th Floor,

90-92 Butt Road




Coram Children's Legal Centre provides free legal advice and sometimes representation to children and parents on family, child and education law. The centre has lots of useful fact sheets on its website. The centre also has a specialist helpline for migrant children, their families and advisers.

The Office of the Children's Commissioner for England

33 Greycoat Street



Tel: 020 7783 8330

Fax: 020 7931 7544



The Office of the Children's Commissioner for England looks after the interests and acts as the independent voice of children and young people.

Children's Commissioner for Wales

Children's freephone

Tel: 0800 801 1000 (Mon-Fri 9.00am -5.00pm)


South Wales office

Oystermouth House

Phoenix Way


Swansea SA7 9FS

Tel: 01792 765600

Fax:01792 765601



North Wales Office

Penrhos Manor

Oak Drive

Colwyn Bay

Conwy LL29 7YW

Tel: 01492 523333

Fax: 01492 523336

The Children's Commissioner for Wales can give children and young people living in Wales advice about their rights and welfare. The Commissioner can also help you make a complaint about your treatment if you are using the usual complaints procedure of an institution such as a school, care home or social services department. If your complaint is unsuccessful, the Commissioner may be able to carry out a separate investigation.

The Children's Commissioner also has powers to take action over 'whistleblowing'. 'Whistleblowing', in this case, is where an employee of an organisation for children and young people raises concerns that the organisation is acting against the interests of children in its care.

Children can use the special freephone and freetext numbers to contact the Commissioner, which won't show up on any phone bill. There's also a special email address for children to use. The service is bilingual and if you want to talk to someone in a language other than English or Welsh, they will try to make this possible.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

42 Curtain Road



Tel: 020 7825 2500

Helpline: 0808 800 5000 (24 hour free advice line)



NSPCC offers advice, information and support.

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