A child's legal rights At a glance
What is a child?
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, a child is someone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. Once they turn 18, they are legally an adult.
In most situations in Scotland, a child is defined as someone who is under 18. But in some contexts, for example in some parts of the child protection system, a child is defined as a person under 16 years of age.
There are also different laws across the UK that specify age limits for young people in different circumstances. These include leaving school; leaving care; the age of consent; and the age of criminal responsibility.
What the law says about children working
Bedroom sharing and moving out
In the average primary school class, at least 2 children have suffered abuse or neglect. Donate now and help protect children today and prevent abuse from happening tomorrow.
Work or volunteer with children and families?
Visit NSPCC Learning for information, resources and training to help you safeguard and protect children and young people across the UK.