Overarching priorities

As the UN Study on Violence against Children highlighted, no violence against children is justifiable and all violence against children can be prevented. The recommendations of the UN Study are anchored in a strong human rights normative foundation, provided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols and other international instruments on children’s rights.To consolidate the human rights foundation of children’s freedom from violence, the SRSG launched with other UN partners a global campaign to achieve universal ratification of the Optional Protocols on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict; and since its adoption in December 2011, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure
The UN Study recommendations provide a navigation chart to accelerate and monitor progress in violence prevention and responses. In view of their particular urgency, the Study identified time-bound targets for three of these recommendations. For this reason, the SRSG gives special attention to them while supporting efforts towards the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda:

  1.  the development in each State of a national comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to all forms of violence, mainstreamed in the national planning process, coordinated by a high level focal point with leading responsibilities in this area, supported by adequate human and financial resources to support implementation, and effectively evaluated;
  2. the introduction of an explicit legal ban on all forms of violence against children, in all settings;
  3. and the promotion of a national system of data collection, analysis and dissemination, and a research agenda on violence against children.

On September 2015, the new global sustainable development agenda was unanimously adopted by the Member States of the United Nations. The new agenda includes for the first time a specific target (16.2) to end all forms of violence against children, and ending the abuse, neglect and exploitation of children is mainstreamed across several other violence-related targets. Having been a strong advocate for the inclusion of these violence concerns, a core priority of the mandate is to support global, regional and implementation efforts to reach SDG target 2030 and make the vision of Agenda 2030 a reality for the world’s children (with link to section on Agenda 2030

The promotion of meaningful and safe child participation is also at the top of the SRSG’s agenda.
Having led major advocacy efforts for the inclusion of the elimination of violence against children as a target and a cross-cutting concern in the Sustainable Development Agenda, SRSG Santos Pais is now giving priority attention to efforts supporting the implementation of Agenda 2030 at global, regional and national level.
To accelerate progress towards the elimination of all forms of violence, called for by SDG target 16.2, in March 2016, the SRSG launched, together with many partners, the High Time to End Violence against Children Initiative. High Time aims to end violence against children thanks to the transformative power of governments’ commitment and action, organizations and communities’ engagement, and people’s time and talent. It promotes a culture of respect for children’s rights to narrow the gap between international standards and reality on the ground, to widen circles of non-violence around children’s lives, and to support broader and deeper mobilization of leaders from all walks of life towards a world free from violence. 

When joining High Time, Governments, organisations, institutions and individuals commit to undertake very concrete actions to prevent and respond to violence against children. Opinion leaders, highly talented individuals and global champions of children’s rights are joining as “Time Raisers”, lending their talent and time to free children from violence. Governments, organisations and institutions mobilize their networks and constituencies when joining as “Time Keepers”. Individuals and groups addressing a specific need join as “Time Givers”. 

In 2017, SRSG Santos Pais launched “Celebrating Childhood: a journey to end violence against children” which includes inspiring testimonies of leading actors of different ages and backgrounds committed to build a world free from fear and violence for all children.

Below you can find information and resources to support global implementation efforts to end all forms of violence against children, including on national legislation and policy frameworks to prevent and address violence against children, data surveys to monitor progress and child sensitive mechanisms to assist child victims. 

National Policies


Independent human rights institutions for children (Ombuds)

Safe reporting


Violence related to SDGs including Target 16.2