SRSG Santos Pais calls for strong political engagement to protect young children from violence

Oslo, 7 November 2014 - In a high level meeting in Oslo, SRSG Santos Pais called on Governments around the world to invest in early childhood initiatives for the prevention and elimination of violence against children.

“Violence in early years has an irreversible impact on children's development and often shapes their adult lives. But beyond its impact on individual victims, it is associated with heavy costs for society”- highlighted the SRSG. “Supporting positive parenting policies, enhancing integrated approaches to early childhood development and securing solid funding for implementation is more than ever crucial to strengthen the human capital upon which nation’s social progress is built”-she added. 

SRSG Santos Pais stressed that these measures need to be supported by the enactment of a clear prohibition of all forms of violence against children and by sound data and research to inform evidence based decisions, monitor progress in children’s protection from violence and promote change in attitudes and practices that may place children at risk.

Santos Pais’ call was made in Oslo during the international expert consultation organised with the Government of Norway on the Benefits of good parenting as a means to combat violence against children. The consultation gathered government officials, researchers and civil society representatives from different countries to discuss strategies to support parents in protecting children’s rights and preventing violence.

During her visit to Oslo, SRSG Santos Pais discussed with the Minister of Children, Equality and Social inclusion Solveig Horne the implementation plan of Norway’s Strategy against violence and abuse. She also visited a Centre for Family Counselling, a free service available across the country to advise couples experiencing difficulties in their relationship.

“Investing in the prevention of violence against children is a human imperative, a matter of good governance and it makes economic sense. Government’s support to parent’s childrearing responsibilities is crucial to prevent and respond quickly and effectively when incidents take place. Respecting children’s views and experience is an essential dimension of this process”, emphasized the Special Representative.

An important meeting was also held with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs during which special emphasis was given to the inclusion of violence in the Post-2015 development agenda, and to children’s protection from violence in schools and in care and justice institutions.

In a five day mission in Europe, SRSG Santos Pais also travelled to Poland to participate in policy debates and high level events organised to mark the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, with a special focus on children's human dignity and freedom from violence.