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Building child protection systems

Nov 05, 2009

Violence, exploitation and abuse of children can be brought to an end by creating a protective environment. UNICEF’s report Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection document some improvements in bringing social change, and the challenges in building a safe world for children.

Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection (No. 8)

Publisher: UNICEF, September 2009

Children worldwide experience violence, exploitation and abuse. They are forced to fight in wars or labour in intolerable conditions; they are sexually abused or subjected to violence as a punishment; they are forced into child marriage or trafficked into exploitative conditions of work; they are needlessly placed in prisons, detention facilities and institutions.

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The elements of a healthy childhood as specified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are being denied because the world is failing to provide children the protection to which they are entitled.

In 2008, UNICEF adopted a new Child Protection Strategy that raised the demand for systemic approaches and for efforts to change the societal attitudes, customs and practices that allow children’s rights to be violated.

The Millennium Declaration of 2000 has also explicitly addressed the need to protect children from conflict, violence, abuse and exploitation.

Data on many child protection issues reveal some progress. For example, in some countries where child marriage has been commonplace, girls are now getting married at a later age. Data also show that female genital mutilation/cutting has declined in recent decades.

However there remain many challenges in relation to research on child protection: a lack of an agreed-upon definition of child protection, a dearth of indicators, a lack of mandatory reporting and the frequent ‘invisibility’ of the phenomena.

Effective child protection systems help ensure that vulnerable children and families have access to school, health care, social welfare, social protection, justice and other essential services. These systems can contribute to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty and exploitation, thus contributing to achieving the MDGs.

This report highlights that there must be a concerted effort to protect the rights of children and to expand the opportunities they have to reach their full potential.

Source : UNICEF
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