Expert Consultations

 

To gain deeper understanding of the root causes and risk factors of violence, and to identify positive experience and strategic recommendations in order to assist Governments in their national implementation efforts, the Special Representative organized seven expert consultations on priority topics and developed special reports and communication materials to support advocacy and to enhance political action and social support for the prevention and elimination of violence against children.

In 2010 and 2011, the Special Representative held three expert consultations: on child-sensitive counselling, complaint and reporting mechanisms in relation to incidents of violence; on children’s legal protection from violence; and on the promotion of safe and violence-free schools. The conclusions and recommendations of those consultations remain strongly relevant for the work of the SRSG.

As detailed in this section, in 2012, the Special Representative organized four additional consultations: on the protection of children from harmful practices; on the prevention of and responses to violence against children within the juvenile justice system; on the consolidation of data and research to inform policy and action against violence; and on the prevention of violence in early childhood.

Regional consultation on bullying

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children, in cooperation with the Government of Mexico, UNICEF, the Inter-American Children’s Institute, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and REDLAMYC convened a Regional Expert Consultation on Children’s Right to Protection from Bullying. Held in Mexico City, Mexico the meeting gathered representatives from national governments, UN agencies, regional organizations, research institutions and civil society.

 

 

Crime prevention and reintegration

As implementation of the 2030 Agenda starts, countless children are being left behind, including those deprived of their liberty. Considering the need to support the elaboration of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty organised an expert consultation to discuss laws, policies and programs for crime prevention and resocialization of children in contact with criminal justice systems. The debates held at this meeting became a concrete contribution to the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty and to the design and implementation of crime prevention and reintegration policies in Latin America. 

 

Bullying and cyberbullying

Bullying compromises children’s well-being, health, and school performance, and is
associated with serious long-term consequences for their lives. Although research and
available data show different results from country to country, bullying, including
cyberbullying, is present and widespread throughout the world, and it is clear that it affects a significant percentage of children as victims, perpetrators or observers.

 

Law Reform

The aim of the Consultation is to formulate practical recommendations to accelerate
the adoption of effective legislation to protect children from all forms of violence. The
Consultation will focus on progress achieved and factors critical to legal reform,
covering selected areas from among the five settings identified by the Study where
violence against children manifests itself (in the home, in the community, in schools,
in institutional care and justice institutions, and in places of work). 

 

Child sensitive counselling and reporting

The overall aim of this expert consultation was to strengthen child friendly counseling, complaint and reporting mechanisms for the safeguard of children’s rights. The meeting was an important stage in the process of preparation of the thematic  report requested by the Human Rights Council on Effective Child Sensitive Counseling,  complaint and Reporting Mechanisms on incidents of violence against children. The report
was jointly conducted by the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, Najat Maalla.

 

 

Harmful Practices

The expert consultation focused on sharing of good legislative examples, taking into account possible risks and backlashes in countries where law reform combined with effective enforcement, awareness-raising and social mobilization has given positive results in addressing deeply rooted social conventions and promoting the abandonment of harmful practices against children. Particular attention was given to less known or emerging harmful practices.

 

 

Juvenile Justice

The expert consultation focused on the risks and systemic factors contributing to violence against children within the juvenile justice system, and strategies and practical recommendations to prevent and respond to violence against children within the juvenile justice system.  Participants included representatives from international and regional human rights bodies, governmental and State institutions, academia and civil society. 

 

 

Restorative Justice

The expert consultation focused on sharing of good legislative, policy and program examples, taking into account possible challenges in countries where law reform and a paradigm shift from punitive approaches to child sensitive restorative justice programs have led to rehabilitation and reintegration of children at community level and providing an overview of available models of restorative justice for children and of legal structures that support such programmes at the national, regional and community levels.

 

Armed Violence

The expert  consultation aimed at making visible the interconnections between children’s protection from armed violence in the community associated with organized crime, and sustainable development; and provide an overview of positive developments, promising practices,case/country studies, as well as challenges in addressing armed violence and
organized crime, in the light of existing and needed responses, including laws, policies and programmes.

 

Strengthening Communities

The expert consultation brought together experts from different regions for cross-regional learning and partnerships aikming at identifying good models and practice of community-based child protection mechanisms supported by various international and local NGOs in communities across different regions and to formulate clear guidance on what communities and children can effectively do in sustainable community-based child protection mchanisms.

 

Early Childhood 

The overall aim of the expert consultation was to influence the global agenda on violence against children by making visible the phenomenon of violence against children in early childhood and its impact on the cycle of violence later in life, as well as in society and in the development of nations. It contributed to map out progress and persisting challenges  and reflect on key findings from initiatives developed by strategic partners, considered ways of promoting the use of knowledge on violence in early childhood and violence prevention in  supporting political decision-making and action and explored options for awareness-raising

 

Violence in Schools

The expert  consultation aimed at sharing European data and research in combating violence against children in schools; consolidating the various national and international methodologies, strategies, initiatives and good practices, including human rights and democratic citizenship education, to make schools free from violence; to identify instruments, methods and recommendations for the SRSG’s follow- up work to eliminate violence in schools, and to define the role that the Council of Europe could further play in addressing violence in schools via its future Children’s Rights Strategy 2012-2015.

 

ICTs and Violence

The expert consultation aimed to support advocacy, national legislative and policy initiatives to strengthen protection of children from violence through new information and communication technologies, and to increase awareness, political support and global  action for online child protection. Starting with a reflection on the ways in which children use ICTs,  articipants discussed the extent to which the concerns expressed by children, their  wishes and needs are known, taken into account and properly addressed.

 

Data and Research

The expert consultation assessed progress in the implementation of the recommendation of the UN Study on data and research on violence against children. The meeting aimed at bridging efforts between statistical offices, research institutions and governmental departments responsible for children and violence-related activities, and promoting evidence-based advocacy, policy and mobilization of resources. Furthermore, the meeting was an important forum to reflect on ethical approaches to take into account the experience and perceptions of violence by children in surveys and research.