In 1990 Chile ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is governed by four fundamental principles, which in turn guide our legislation:
- Non-discrimination: The child must not suffer discrimination based on race, color, gender, language, religion, nationality, social origin, caste or disability.
- The best interests of the child: Laws that affect children should benefit them in the best possible way.
- Survival, development and protection: The country’s authorities must protect the child and guarantee its full development, both physical and social.
- Participation: Children have the right to express their opinion in decisions that affect them, and to have their opinions taken into account.
This means that children have rights such as: having a name and a nationality, living with one or both parents that provide them protection and food, express opinions freely, have their private life protected, protection against illegal drugs, among others.
The Convention considers a “child” to be any person under 18 years of age.
In addition, Chilean legislation guarantees other specific rights:
Protection against domestic violence
Children cannot be physically or psychologically abused by their parents. In the event that this occurs, the law allows anyone to report the abuse before the Family Courts, without the need for a lawyer. The Court must adopt protective measures in favor of the minor.
All children have the right to education. The State must guarantee free access and fiscal financing from the second stage of transition (kindergarten), up to the fourth year of high school, inclusive. Any arbitrary limitation of this right is prohibited.
It is forbidden for minors under 15 years of age to work, unless it is with judicial authorization and in areas such as cinema, TV, circuses and shows. Young people between 15 and 18 years old can only carry out light work that does not harm their health, development or school education, authorized by the father or mother.
All children have the right to identity, to know their biological origin and to belong to a family, either with biological or adoptive parents. Parents, be they biological or adoptive, have the same duties in relation to the child. They must care for them, raise them, and educate them. They are also her heirs. Children born in and out of wedlock have the same rights under the law.
Children have the right to food until they are 21 years old, their parents being the main obligated parties. This right can be extended further, to the extent that the child studies a profession or trade (in which case the right ceases at 28 years of age), that there is a physical or mental disability or that another qualified cause concurs, from the which the judge considers that they are necessary to subsist.
Children under 18 can be legally adopted. Among other cases, the law allows it if the parents deliver their child to a public or private institution for the protection of minors, do not provide care for two months (30 days, if it is less than one year) or are unable to practice the care. The procedure can be initiated at the request of the National Service for Minors , or of the person in charge of the minor.
Several of the benefits that Chilean health guarantees through the GES plan are aimed at children, such as operable congenital heart disease, treatment of scoliosis, cancer, epilepsy and acute respiratory infections for children under one year of age.
All children in the country have the right to free medical attention in public health in case of an accident during their school activities.
crimes The law provides more severe penalties for those who commit sexual crimes against minors. For example, the crimes of rape against minors under 14 years of age can be punished with sentences of 5 years and one day to 20 years in prison. In recent years other crimes have been established against minors. This is the case of grooming , that is, sending, receiving or delivering images or recordings of sexual significance with minors. This crime includes penalties of 541 days to three years in prison.