ECV2020 Keynote Speaker 1

‘Voice is not enough’: The Lundy model and early childhood

Laura Lundy, Centre for Children’s Rights, Queen’s University Belfast, UK (

Biography: Laura Lundy is Co-Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University, Belfast and co-Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Children’s Rights. Her expertise is in law and human rights with a particular focus on children’s right to participate in decision-making and education rights. Her 2007 paper “‘Voice’ is not enough” is one of the most highly cited academic papers on children’s rights ever. The model of children’s participation it proposes (based on four key concepts – Space, Voice, Audience and Influence) is used extensively in scholarship and practice.


Article 12 of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) requires children’s views to be given due weight in all matters affecting them whether those decisions affect children individually or collectively. Research on the implementation of the CRC undertaken for the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) identified a lack of compliance with Article 12 of the CRC (children’s right to have their views given due weight) as one of the crosscutting issues affecting children in all aspects of their lives. Children and young people consistently reported frustration that their views were not being listened to and taken seriously. One of the factors which appeared to hinder the full realization of the right was the fact that the precise nature of Article 12 was not fully understood by CRC duty-bearers. Lundy, drawing on the research for NICCY, proposed a model for rights-compliant children’s participation which offers a legally sound but practical conceptualization of Article 12 of the CRC. The Lundy model (presented under the title “‘Voice’ is not enough”) suggests that implementation of Article 12 requires consideration of four inter-related concepts: space, voice, audience and influence. This presentation will describe the Lundy model, focusing in its application for children in the early years.

Implications for children: What you think and feel should be listened to and taken seriously when adults are making decisions about you.

Implications for families: Your children have a right to have their views sought and taken into account when decisions are made which affect them. You have a right to provide them with advice and guidance on this and can support them to be heard.

Implications for practitioners: Under the UNCRC, you are a duty-bearer. That means that you are under an obligation to seek children’s views and give them due weight when you are making decisions that affect them.

Key words: children’s voices, policy, government, international communities, children’s rights

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: