Children in need and children whose rights are violated: Are they the same, and does it matter?


  • Nick Axford Dartington Social Research Unit


children, need, rights, services, well-being


Need and rights both continue to be used as organising principles for thinking about child wellbeing and children’s services in many western developed countries, including England and Wales. As such, it is essential to be able to be able to measure them and understand the relationship between them. Often the phrases 'in need’ and ‘violated rights’ are used as if they mean something similar and refer to the same children, but do they? This article describes an attempt to operationalise need and rights for a population of children living in the community. It sets out results for the prevalence and overlap between children in need and those whose rights were considered to be violated, assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the measures that were developed and considers the implications for policy and practice.

Author Biography

Nick Axford, Dartington Social Research Unit

Dartington Social Research Unit, Dartington, UK.