Overarching priorities

In 2020 the SRSG established strategic goals to keeping the promise of protecting children from violence leaving no child behind.

Children’s protection from violence is at the core of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and an obligation for Member States to fulfil. As the “Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030” kicks off, communities around the world are coming  together to accelerate efforts to reach the SDGs. Achieving the SDGs will help reduce the risk of violence in children’s lives and provide effective responses for its victims. At the same time, failing to reach the SDG targets related to violence against children – especially target 16.2 – will hinder social and economic progress across the whole 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Celebration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in 2020 provides a unique opportunity to increase momentum towards the realization of every child’s right to live free from violence. The international community needs to ensure children are at the front and center of these discussions and active participants in making the decisions that shape their world.

Our Strategy for 2020:

Our Vision: All children live free from violence
Our Mission: Act as a global, high-level and independent advocate for the promotion of the right of all children to freedom from violence
Our Priorities:
1. Accelerating implementation of SDG Target 16.2 and other related SDGs
2. Ensuring that all forms of violence are included in the implementation of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development
3. Amplifying the voices of children


Accelerating implementation of SDG Target 16.2 and other related SDGs

All 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals touch children’s lives in one way or another while the drivers of violence against children span the political, economic, social and cultural policy environments. 

The SRSG´s office prepared a briefing note aiming to support Member States as they prepare their voluntary national reviews (VNR) by highlighting how the SDGs and ending violence against children are closely linked. It encourages Member States to use their VNR to report on promising practices and initiatives showing that violence against children is preventable.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has key targets aimed at ending different forms of violence against children, as well as targets to address factors that drive violence against children. Poverty, gender inequality, climate change and natural disasters, and social discrimination make children more vulnerable to various forms of violence, including human trafficking.

Agenda for Action in response to Covid19

Following the Secretary General’s policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on children, the UN Inter-Agency Working Group on Violence against Children has put together an Agenda for Action. The Agenda for Action is based on the different mandates of the entities involved and provides a child rights and multi-sectoral framework for action.

The Agenda calls for strong mobilization of governments, bilateral/multilateral donors, civil society and private sector to:
•    safeguard social protection, health, education and protection of children services;
•    ensure children are duly protected and have the possibility to thrive and reach their full potential, when this crisis will be over;
•    achieve the Goals and Targets of the Sustainable Development Agenda.


The UN Study

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 Maalla M´jid is now giving priority attention to efforts supporting the implementation of Agenda 2030 at global, regional and national level.

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