“Young children face highest risks of violence” – SRSG on Violence against Children at the Expert Consultation on Prevention of and Response to Violence against Young Children in Peru

Lima (Peru) 28 August 2012 - The question of violence against young children took center-stage at an expert consultation organized by the SRSG on Violence against Children, the Government of Peru, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, UNICEF and the Global Movement for Children of Latin America and the Caribbean. The consultation included the participation of leading policy and academic institutions, government representatives, international experts and children and adolescents from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The meeting called on governments to undertake urgent and strategic action to prevent violence against young children, give high priority to children in the budget and national policy agenda, to strengthen communication strategies, make known initiatives that work and can build violence-free societies, as well as support families and communities to guarantee effective legal protection of young children from all forms of violence.

The conclusions and recommendations of the Expert Consultation were presented at the national follow up meeting on Wednesday 29th. At the opening ceremony, the First Lady of Peru, Ms Nadine Heredia, recognized children as a top priority for the government of President Humala which is committed to double the efforts to ensure “zero tolerance on violence against children”. As highlighted by the First Lady, “our hands should be used to protect children, not to hit them”.

SRSG Marta Santos Pais recalled that in Latin America only three countries-Uruguay, Venezuela and Costa Rica, have an explicit legal prohibition of all forms of violence against children in all settings. “ Peru has a strategic opportunity to assume a leading role in this area by ensuring that the current review by the Congress of the Code on Children includes a clear and comprehensive legal ban on all forms of violence, wherever it may occur, including within the home”, said Santos Pais.

"Violence has a decisive impact on the development of children, and also impacts on the economy and social development of each country. It is our present and our future that is at stake. As the national budget is being discussed, we are confident young children and their protection from violence will be a key priority”, added the SRSG.

The consultation in Peru was the seventh expert consultation organized by the SRSG’s office since the establishment of the mandate, in September 2009.

More information about the meeting