Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald has promised to end what she called the "shambolic" child protection system put in place by the previous Government.
Speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis last night Minister Fitzgerald said that for too long, people stood idly by and let abuse happen.
She says a monumental shift in the attitude of society is needed, by breaking the cycle of silence.
Minister Fitzgerald said the referendum on children's rights will change the system forever.
"We have to move to a place where children have rights; where their voices are heard; where their needs are met," she said.
"Where fundamentally, as a society, we no longer stand idly by.
"If children's voices had been heard; if they had really been respected; if they had been listened to - we would not have had a Ryan report."