PREVNet Inc.

February 16, 2011 08:01 ET

Canadian Collaboration Leads National Children's Rights Initiative

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 16, 2011) - A unique Canadian collaboration including Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence (PREVNet), UNICEF Canada, MyHealth Magazine and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), has launched a new national initiative aimed at raising children's awareness of their human rights.

Initially inspired by National Child Day – celebrated every year on November 20th – the partnership came together to create a series of engaging and youth-friendly articles about the rights and freedoms that are promised to children under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The articles are available at www.childandyouthrights.net.

"If children are treated with respect, then they are more likely to treat others with respect," says Dr. Wendy Craig, Psychology Professor at Queen's University and co-director of PREVNet. "Informing our children and youth about their rights can protect them from abuse, as well as help them to understand how they can protect and treat other people better," adds Dr. Debra Pepler who co-directs PREVNet and is a Professor of Psychology at York University.

Children under the age of 18 are entitled to all of the human rights as defined under the Convention but most children are not aware of it. The goal of this initiative is to create a forum for educating and dialoguing with youth online about their rights. The articles explain what human rights are, why young people should care about their rights, and what they can do if their rights are being violated.

"Children's rights are about relationships: the relationships governments have with their youngest citizens, in delivering on the commitments they take on, and the relationships children and youth have with their parents, other adults and each other," says Lisa Wolff, Director, Advocacy and Education, at UNICEF Canada. "When rights are respected, relationships are stronger, and children and youth are better protected and able to strive for their full potential."

The site includes a quiz and a contest to help engage youth. In addition to the online format, various social media channels are encouraging youth to visit the site, including Facebook and Twitter.

"Critical to teaching children is reaching children, and to do this we must have resources and vehicles that are relevant to today's youth," says Dr. Darcy Santor, co-director of MyHealth Magazine, at the University of Ottawa, with Dr. Alexa Bagnell at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. Empowering and thought-provoking, the articles use real life stories and impactful graphics to highlight the importance of rights for children.

The project is also being supported by Saveria, one of Canada's most talented young artists.Saveria was featured on the Family Channel during their 2010 Bullying Awareness Week, by writing and performing the theme song "Don't Push Me Down" for the campaign and participating at school rallies across Canada. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the song go to PREVNet. More information about Saveria can be found at www.officialsaveria.com.

About PREVNet

PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence) is a New Initiative of the Networks of Centres of Excellence – an umbrella network of 65 leading Canadian research scientists and 51 national youth-serving organizations. Launched in 2006, PREVNet's mission is to stop bullying in Canada and to promote safe and healthy relationships for all Canadian children and youth. Led by Scientific Co-Directors, Dr. Debra Pepler of York University and Dr. Wendy Craig of Queen's University, this national network is the first of its kind in Canada, and provides an unprecedented opportunity for social-cultural change. Resources are available from the website: www.prevnet.ca.

About UNICEF Canada

UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

About MyHealth Magazine (formerly YooMagazine)

MyHealth (http://www.yoomagazine.net) is an interactive health and mental health literacy program designed for youth, parents and teachers. It gives youth reliable information in a variety of formats whileproviding schools with timely information about students' health and mental health needs.The magazine is located at the University of Ottawa.

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