Violence Against Children
“All forms of physical or mental violence” does not leave room for any level of legalized violence against children. Frequency, severity of harm and intent to harm are not prerequisites for the definitions of violence […] States parties need to establish national standards for child well-being, health and development as securing these conditions is the ultimate goal of child caregiving and protection. (art. 19.1 UNCRC, GC 13)
Violence is a global epidemic and an unfortunate daily reality for millions of children. Children of all ages, all genders, all social contexts, and all nationalities are beaten, sexually assaulted, tortured, and even killed. Violence takes place in their homes and families, schools, institutions, workplaces and communities. The perpetrators are often those closest to the children – their parents, guardians, teachers, employers, police and security forces – the individuals who are meant to protect them.
Violence against children remains to be a fundamental and cross-cutting global issue. DCI is continuously creating actions aimed at preventing and responding to violence against children in all settings, particularly in the field of juvenile justice and most recently with a focus on gender-based violence.
DCI was a major partner in the NGO collaboration for the preparation of the UN Study on Violence against Children in 2006 and its subsequent follow up. DCI-IS regularly contributes to the work of the SRSG on Violence and Children. Likewise, DCI-IS is an active member of the Child Rights Connect’s working group on Children and Violence. This group aims to join efforts to advocate for the elimination of violence against children with the UN human rights mechanism and bodies in Geneva and to follow-up on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially target 16.2 on ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children. DCI-IS is also a member of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and the International NGO Council on Violence Against Children.
Some progress in the adoption of legal instruments has been achieved, yet some of the worst forms of violence remain lawful around the world and some estimates report that at least one billion children endure some kind of violence every year (See: International NGO Council on Violence Against Children, 10 years on: Global Progress and Delay in Ending Violence Against Children – Rhetoric and the Reality, November 2016).
DCI will continue to advocate at all levels for the elimination of violence against children, and it will remain one of its thematic priorities at all levels of implementation. To achieve concrete results in eliminating violence against children, DCI focuses on:
- Advocating and lobbying with HR Treaty Bodies, the Human Rights Council (HRC), and its mechanisms, for the elimination of all forms of violence against children at the international level through meetings with OHCHR Special Procedure mandate-holders, oral and written statements, alternative reports to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), etc.
- Raising awareness and advocating for governments to take action on the recommendations made in the UN study on Violence against Children, at the international level, and provide capacity-building to our National Sections in their advocacy work at the regional and national level.
- Raising awareness on hidden issues in violence against children through drafting thematic reports and newsletters.
Our Impact 2017
At the national level, DCI National Sections work directly with children victims of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, as well as children at risk and in need of protection. In 2017, DCI around the world – from the Americas to Africa, and from the MENA region to Europe – supported children survivors of violence such as community violence, commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, online violence, child labour and gender-based violence.
At the national level, DCI National Sections work with children that have encountered violence through a variety of projects, programmes and activities, including by providing direct assistance, capacity building, awareness-raising, and advocacy. In Colombia for example, DCI monitors cases of sexual violence against indigenous girls, while in Costa Rica DCI focuses its activities fighting child labour in the tobacco industry. Likewise, DCI in Lebanon provides vocations trainings and education programmes to improve the living conditions for children working in worst forms of child labour or in direct risk of such. And DCI in Liberia provides psychosocial support and counselling services to children survivors of violence.
To know more about our impact in fighting violence against children read our Annual Report 2017 here.