Although much is being said about children and youth, we know very little about how well they are really doing. Switzerland and Liechtenstein lack representative data on the well-being of young people. At the same time, children and youth are rarely asked about this themselves. With the Child Rights Barometer, OST – Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences – and UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein developed a new instrument to close these gaps and collect comprehensive information on the child rights situation of children and youth.
We can only guess how children and youth are doing in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and where the most urgent need for action exists. The point of view of children and youth is also rarely taken into account. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child also stresses this problem regularly as part of the monitoring procedure on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. To respect child rights, Switzerland and Liechtenstein must carry out regular representative monitoring of the situation of children and youth. This gap should now be closed by the Child Rights Barometer developed by UNICEF and OST.
With the Child Rights Barometer, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein and OST are starting an initiative to regularly collect representative information about the situation of children and youth throughout Switzerland and Liechtenstein, i.e., for all cantons and language regions. It surveys children and youth themselves as experts on their own living environments about their well-being and their lives.
The Child Rights Barometer surveys the well-being of children and youth and measures the extent to which they are protected, nurtured and given an opportunity to participate in Switzerland and Liechtenstein as defined by the Child Rights Convention. The study therefore shows how child rights are realized in Switzerland and Liechtenstein from the perspective of children and youth.
"The Child Rights Barometer provides evidence-based information on the well-being of children and youth in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and identifies the areas where measures can be implemented to improve the child rights situation. There is currently no comparable study for Switzerland and Liechtenstein that so comprehensively includes the views of children and young people." (Bettina Junker, CEO, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein)
The Child Rights Barometer helps to close important gaps: comprehensive, representative and comparable data is collected about the child rights situation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Children and youth are directly interviewed, they participate in the process and their opinions are taken seriously.
"Children and young people are the experts when it comes to their own lives. The study was therefore designed to focus strongly on participation: with regard to the planning and implementation of the Child Rights Barometer, young people are involved in various process stages, e.g., the development of indicators." (Mandy Falkenreck, OST)
The project started in 2023 and will run over four years. During this time the foundation for the study will be laid, the indicators will be defined with the participation of children and youth as well as specialists, and finally a first representative survey will be carried out. The first quantitative data collected in this way will be included in Switzerland’s State Party Report Procedure on the implementation of child rights in 2026. After the four-year project phase, the Child Rights Barometer as a longitudinal study should be carried out regularly.
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