The United Nations Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (SRSG VAC) reported that every year at least 1 billion children—half of the world’s children—experience some form of violence. This violence often occurs in places where children expect to be safe, such as schools or homes and by individuals closest to children—their parents, guardians, teachers, employers, police, and security forces. In many countries, different forms of violence remain lawful or tolerated and they continue to be a fundamental, cross-cutting global issue.
DCI actively engages in international and regional efforts to advocate for the effective elimination of violence against children, underpinning its work on Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) General Comment No. 13 on the rights of children to freedom from all forms of violence.
In addition, DCI’s national sections organise regular outdoor monitoring to identify children in vulnerable situations which enables DCI to follow widespread abuses, such as child trafficking and gender-based violence. Their response, adapted to children’s needs, usually includes individual psychosocial counselling and education programmes. Part of our work includes advocating for the implementation in our country sections of the Second Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography of the UNCRC.
While some progress in the adoption of legal instruments has been achieved, violence against children remains an endemic daily reality for millions of children. In this regard, it will remain one of DCI’s thematic priorities at all levels of implementation. (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).
To achieve concrete results in eliminating violence against children, DCI focuses on evidence-based advocacy through oral and written statements, capacity-building of civil society actors and reports to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and campaigns and calls-to-action directed at governments. In order to challenge social norms and empower children especially girls, DCI also takes a gender-based perspective in the implementation of innovative programmes like the Girls Advocacy Alliance (See Gender Equality).
DCI was among the groups of nongovernmental organisations which directly supported the preparation of the UN Study on Violence against Children, which was finally adopted by the UN General Assembly in October 2006. The Study was carried out by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro , the Independent Expert appointed to conduct the UN Study on Violence against Children, and led to a General Assembly resolution A/RES/62/141 which established the post of UNSRSG VAC. With 12 over-arching recommendations, the Study emphasises the need for high-level leadership and cooperation paired with comprehensive follow-up action in order to implement and assess the progress of the Study’s recommendations.
Moreover, DCI-IS is an active member of the Child Rights Connect’s working group on Children and Violence. This group aims to join various nongovernmental organisations with the UN human rights mechanism and bodies in Geneva to advocate for the elimination of violence against children and to follow-up on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).