Children in street situations are children first and foremost

Children in Street Situations discusses the challenges faced by children living on the streets, including their exposure to violence, exploitation, and lack of access to basic services such as education and healthcare. It highlights the need for a comprehensive approach to address their needs, which includes legal protection, social services, and community support. The document emphasizes the importance of understanding the root causes that lead children to the streets and implementing policies focusing on prevention, protection, and rehabilitation.

We need to act now to end child domestic servitude

Child domestic workers represent probably the largest and most ignored group of child workers.

The root causes of child domestic labor are multiple and multi-faceted. Poverty and its feminization, the persistence of traditional hierarchies, debt bondages, social exclusion, lack of education, gender and ethnic discrimination, domestic violence, displacement, rural-urban migration and loss of parents due to conflicts and diseases are just some of the multiple “push factors” for child domestic workers worldwide.

End Immigration Detention of Children

Immigration Detention is never in the best interests of the child and constitutes a child rights violation. It is a form of violence that impacts a country’s capacity to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially targets 10.7 and 16. All children, regardless of their legal or migratory status or that of their families, have the right to be cared for and protected from violence, abuse and exploitation. This advocacy brief provides an overview of promising practices and lessons learned to end child immigration detention and sets out a range of policy actions needed to scale up efforts to end this form of violence.

Investing in children: An accelerator for the Sustainable Development Goals

This brief explores how investment in a holistic approach to the SDGs can contribute to the prevention of – and response to – violence against children, illustrated with examples from the 2023 VNRs.These examples are not exhaustive, but they highlight promising practices with the aim of encouraging Member States to enhance overall investment in children and their well-being. The brief also shares other examples that have impressed the SRSG-VAC during her engagements with various stakeholders.

Rethinking travel and tourism: Placing child protection at the core of sustainable travel and tourism

The travel and tourism sectors are vital in supporting the livelihood and development of communities and countries worldwide. Promoting responsible, accessible, and sustainable tourism is also essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda. However, many child protection challenges emerge in the context of travel and tourism, whether due to offenders moving within or between States or as an unintended result of the activities and operations of the sector itself.

It is time to rethink how travel and tourism are conducted and create a sustainable industry. Discussions on sustainability in the sector have rightly incorporated environmental, economic, and social dimensions. However, freedom from violence against children is also fundamental for sustainability. It is impossible to achieve genuinely sustainable growth – including within travel and tourism – and realize the promise of the 2030 Agenda while this violence and its drivers persist.

Protecting the Rights of Children on the Move in Times of Crisis

The number of children on the move, including refugee and displaced children, is increasing.

This puts massive pressure on governments, communities and the humanitarian agencies that protect them. An estimated 89.3 million people had been forcibly displaced from their homes by the end of 2021, which increased to a staggering 100 million by mid-2022. In at least 17 countries, refugees or internally displaced people account for at least five per cent of the population. More children are being affected worldwide, and they now account for 41 per cent – or 42 million – of all those who have been forcibly displaced. The damage caused by multidimensional crises is on the rise. Crises caused by armed conflicts, political instability and climate change, and the effects of health and economic problems threaten children's rights, including their right to be protected from violence, abuse and neglect. 

A safer digital environment for children - Now is the time to ACT!

It is estimated that one in three Internet users worldwide is under 18 years of age. While the digital environment offers new opportunities for the realization of children’s rights, it also poses risks of the violation or abuse of those rights.

The online risks to children can entail different forms of violence and harm.

The lack of comprehensive data on violence against children in that environment remains a challenge. Notwithstanding the gaps that persist, the data that already exist on children’s exposure to violence and harm online are alarming.

A recent review of evidence by WHO highlighted that according to meta-analyses of international studies regarding different forms of violence against children online: 15% of children reported cyberbullying victimization; 11.5% of survey participants had received unwanted online sexual solicitation; and 8% of adolescents had a self-made sexual image forwarded without consent.

The Climate Crisis and Violence against Children

The paper recalls that children – who bear the least responsibility for the climate crisis - are among those hit hardest by its impacts, with around 1 billion of them exposed to its risks.

The advocacy brief demonstrates that climate crisis is a ‘threat multiplier’ for violence against children, exacerbating every challenge – from poverty to displacement and loss of education – that enables such violence to thrive. While no child is immune to the combined impact of the climate crisis and violence, that impact falls most heavily on the children who are already the most disadvantaged. In her opening remarks at the launch of the report, the Special Representative called for "a paradigm shift as a matter of urgency" based on the inclusion of children as part of the solution, far greater investment in their well-being, and child-sensitive climate laws and policies that are backed by adequate resources and monitoring.


The Violence Prevention Dividend - Why Preventing Violence Against Children Makes Economic Sense

This paper gives an overview of the economic case for investing in the prevention of violence against children. It is intended to alert policymakers to the substantial economic and social costs of violence against children and the potential dividend that would accrue from investment in violence prevention. The paper outlines where governments can strengthen and improve engagement in violence prevention in light of post COVID-19 recovery planning and beyond.

The investment case supports a Call to Action for governments and development partners to increase the resources currently allocated for the prevention of violence against children and to use resources even more effectively

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Children as agents of positive change. A mapping of children’s initiatives across regions, towards an inclusive and healthy world free from violence

We are in the midst of a new era of child engagement, where children are to be considered partners and key players in achieving change. Children are acting against violence and being part of the solution everywhere, taking forward positive change, working as partners with adults and young people.

This report provides an overview of the different actions taken forward by children mostly in times of COVID-19, but not limited to it. It looks at children’s diverse roles when helping to prevent, address, and report violence (including supporting their peers); it helps to understand how children are contributing and being part of the solutions  when thinking about building back better, and how children are helping accelerate fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It showcases how children are collaborating with adults and with decision makers, and how children are proving to be agents of change. 

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Hidden scars: how violence harms the mental health of children

More than 1 billion children – half of all children in the world – are exposed to violence every year.  It is clear that violence has a severe impact on the mental health of children. Exposure to violence is often traumatic, and it can evoke toxic responses to stress that cause both immediate and longterm physiological and psychological damage. The consequences of violence include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, substance use disorders, sleep and eating disorders, and suicide.

The cumulative impact of violence on children’s mental health is shaped by the way in which children experience violence as they move from early childhood to adolescence, with variations in both the forms of violence to which they are exposed and the consequences for their mental health. These consequences can be passed from one generation to the next, particularly for children whose childhoods have been characterized by exposure to intimate partner violence, and for mothers who experienced violence as they grew up.

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Solutions for Children Previously Affiliated With Extremist Groups: An Evidence Base to Inform Repatriation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration

Tens of thousands of foreign, Iraqi and Syrian children are being held in detention on suspected ISIS association or terror-related offenses, or in camps. These children are exposed to violence, due process violations and family separation. Securing solutions for these children must be pursued in advance or in parallel with efforts to facilitate repatriation.

The UN standpoint is that identified children should be repatriated and children born to nationals be granted citizenship. Further, such children should be considered as having been illegally recruited by violent extremist groups, and thus should be treated primarily as victims and decisions concerning them made in accordance with their best interests.

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A Child-Resilience Approach to Preventing Violent Extremism

The current discourse on violent extremism focuses largely on young adults, thereby overlooking key drivers, influences and causal pathways that are specific to children. These include children’s biological tendency towards risk taking and heightened vulnerability to polarized message content. It is also clear that when children become associated with violent extremist groups, this can reflect an age-specific psychological response to their surroundings or circumstances. For example, where children grow up being exposed to chronic marginalization, violence or social injustice, joining an extremist group can represent an act of agency, or a means to feel connected, assert power or exact revenge.

When these insights are applied to programing, a key message is the importance of children not entering adolescence with underdeveloped social bonds or socio-behavioural deficits. This is because regardless of why a child joins a violent group, once engaged, this pathway is rapid, unidirectional, often hidden, and highly resilient to interruption.

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When children take the lead: 10 child participation approaches to tackle violence

This report draws on 10 case studies to examine child participation experiences related to different forms of violence, spanning initiatives driven by governments, international organizations and civil society. It zooms in on children’s roles, the methods used, the balance between offline and online, and how each initiative has achieved its impact. It identifies common elements that make child participation effective for violence prevention, reporting and awareness, offering concrete recommendations for children’s rights-based organizations.

This analysis of 10 child participation approaches aims to support child rights practitioners in their efforts to promote effective child participation. The ultimate goal is to unleash the positive power of millions of children who want to safeguard their right to a world free from violence.

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Children speak about the impact of deprivation of liberty: the case of Latin America

The risk of violence faced by children affected by deprivation of liberty has been a priority for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children since the outset of her mandate in 2009. In an effort to shed further light on the impact of deprivation of liberty on the enjoyment of children’s rights, the Special Representative partnered with UNICEF, the Governments of Paraguay and Uruguay and the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Platform for Children with a Parent deprived of Liberty (NNAPEs Platform) to document the views and experiences of children affected by the deprivation of liberty. A total of 504 children deprived of liberty and those who have parents and caregivers in detention were consulted between mid-2017 and early 2018. Guided by the UN Study, the 2030 Agenda and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, this report describes the impact of deprivation of liberty on children, both when they are deprived of liberty themselves and when they are affected by the deprivation of liberty of a parent or a caregiver. 

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Violence against children on the move - From a continuum of violence to a continuum of protection

Every minute, 20 people – many of them children – are forced from their homes by violence, persecution or conflict. While children account for less than one third of the global population, they make up more than half of today’s refugees worldwide.

Recent years have seen growing numbers of children and adolescents on the move, alone or with their families, within and across countries. Some may move by choice, aiming to learn new skills and make good use of their talents, improve their education, or explore new options – often in the world’s growing cities – to reach their full potential.

They may choose to widen their horizons through exposure to new cultures, languages and social contexts, or move to join family members.

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Keeping the promise: ending violence against children by 2030

This report aims to help us keep that promise to children. It documents what has been achieved to date through collective action, reminds us of the prevalence and nature of violence, sets out the evidence on solutions, and charts a course for accelerated progress. Violence against children is widespread and pervasive but is not inevitable! By placing children at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, and at the centre of all we do, we can realize its noble vision of a world free from fear and violence for all. 

From foreword by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres

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The private sector and the prevention of violence against children in Latin America and the Caribbean

The private sector and the prevention of violence against children in Latin America and the Caribbean report presents a set of case studies illustrating how actions by businesses across the region are helping to secure children’s protection from violence, while also pointing out the alarming context of violence against children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Our joint publication is a key contribution to the realization of children’s rights and the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which has the ambitious vision of a world that invests in its children and safeguards their freedom from violence, abuse and exploitation. This report emphasizes the crucial role that the private sector plays in this new development paradigm.

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Violence prevention must start in early childhood

Ending violence in children’s lives and investing in early childhood are first and foremost a question of children’s rights, further supported by scientific evidence which shows that a violence-free early childhood matters: the first 1,000 days of a child’s life are the foundation for a person’s whole future development. Violence in early childhood is a stressful, painful experience for a child in the immediate term, with the further risk of midand long-term consequences. The optimum physical, intellectual and socio-emotional potential of children depends on receiving loving care and enjoying a nurturing environment from the very start.

Scientific research shows that early childhood stress - including exposure to violence - compromises children’s development, health and education, with long-term negative mental and physiological consequences. Neuroscience advances have vastly increased our understanding of how a child’s early brain development can be impacted by exposure to violence. Violence can alter the developing brain’s structure and function which can impact language acquisition and cognitive functioning, resulting in social and emotional competency deficits and generating fear, anxiety, depression and the risk of self-harm and aggressive behaviour.

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Celebrating childhood: A journey to end violence against children

This book is about what ending violence against children takes, means and brings. It’s a celebration of childhood and a manifesto for a world where children can grow with dignity and free from violence.
It gathers inspiring testimonies of people whose talent and time are bringing us closer to a world of nonviolence for all children. The contributors are remarkable people of all ages and  backgrounds. They are visionary leaders and child rights defenders, scholars and artists, all of whom have demonstrated decisive commitment to build a better world for children.
We trust that you will be inspired by the personal stories, the professional achievements and the dreams and creations presented in this book. In the countdown to 2030, everybody counts. Children want to count on you! Every citizen of the world can be an agent of change. And this can inspire others to bring about the change we need.

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