Establishment of the Mandate

In 2002, General Assembly Resolution 56/138 requested the Secretary-General to conduct an in-depth study on the question of violence against children, following a recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children (A/61/299), led by Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, addressed violence against children in five settings: the family, schools, alternative care institutions and detention facilities, places where children work and communities. The Study called for urgent action to prevent and respond to all forms of violence and presented a set of strategic recommendations.

To promote dissemination of the Study and ensure effective follow-up to its recommendations, the Study called for the appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG-VAC). Through Resolution 62/141, the General Assembly requested the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on violence against children, at the highest possible level.


Appointment of the SRSG on Violence against Children


On 30 May 2019, the Secretary-General appointed Dr. Najat Maalla M'jid (Morocco) as his Special Representative on Violence against Children.


Dr. Maalla M'jid took her position on 1st July 2019, ten years after Marta Santos Pais (Portugal) was appointed as first Special Representative on Violence against Children.


The Office of the Special Representative is located in New York and is part of the Secretariat of the United Nations.



Role and functions of the SRSG on Violence against Children

The mandate of the Special Representative has been renewed by the General Assembly consistently since its establishment, most recently in resolution 76/147.

In addition to ensuring effective follow-up to the Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children, the General Assembly has underlined the role of the Special Representative in supporting Member States in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in leading the follow-up to the global study on children deprived of liberty (A/74/136).

The SRSG is a global independent advocate in favour of the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children. The SRSG acts as a bridge builder and a catalyst of actions in all regions, and across sectors and settings where violence against children may occur. She mobilizes action and political support to maintain momentum around this agenda.

The mandate of the SRSG is anchored in human rights standards, promoting the universal ratification and effective implementation of core international conventions. The SRSG cooperates closely with human rights bodies and mechanisms, with UN funds and programmes and specialized agencies, and with regional organizations. She also promotes cooperation with national human rights institutions, civil society and faith-based organizations, the private sector, and with children.

The SRSG makes use of mutually supportive strategies, including the contribution to strategic meetings at the international, regional and national levels; the identification of good practices and experience across regions, sectors and settings; the organization of field missions; and the promotion of thematic studies and reports.

The SRSG chairs the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group on Violence against Children and the United Nations task force on children deprived of liberty. For the period 2023-2024, the Special Representative is also Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons.


The SRSG reports annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. In addition to her regular reports, the SRSG can issue thematic reports on key areas of concern.