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Children and Violence
Around the world children are being abused, beaten, violated and exploited. For NGOs working to protect children from such violence, urgent action is needed. The Working Group on Children and Violence aims to promote action that will prompt violence prevention strategies and protect children who are vulnerable. In particular the Working Group focuses on the framework provided by the CRC and works towards the implementation of this instrument as a legal obligation for governments and as a core protection tool for children.
UN Study on Violence against Children Follow-up
The Working Group acts as a platform for information-sharing and strategy work with respect to follow-up of the UN Study on Violence against Children. It informs and facilitates the involvement of the wider Child Rights Connect in the follow-up to the UN study and serves as a focal point for Working Group members in identifying, influencing, initiating and participating in follow-up activities related to the study, whether these activities are sponsored under UN or other international, national or NGO auspices.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children
On 1 May 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Marta Santos País as his Special Representative on Violence against Children.
Since her appointment, the Working Group has worked closely with Marta Santos País. As a global focal point for advancing the recommendations of the UN Study on Violence against Children through advocacy towards key players in Geneva, the Working Group meets regularly with Marta Santos País and contributes to her work by providing information on violence against children, supporting the preparation of country visits, supporting her work with other human rights mechanisms such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Special Procedure mandate holders and collaborating on the campaign for an effective child-sensitive counseling complaint and reporting mechanism.
The Working Group is also supporting the two-year campaign for Universal Ratification of the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child led by the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG-VAC), the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UNICEF and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Committee on the Rights of the Child
In order to help NGOs to include comprehensive information on the incidence of violence in their reports to the Committee, the Working Group has prepared guidelines for NGOs: Reporting on Violence against Children: A Thematic Guide for non-governmental organizations reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Guidelines aim to assist NGOs in ensuring that there is adequate discussion on, and analysis of, violence in the preparation of NGO reports and that the concluding observations of the Committee reflect concerns about violence and represent a tool for follow-up at national level.
The Guidelines are a follow-up to the review by Child Rights Connect Focal Point on Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Abuse of Children of 140 NGO reports submitted to the Committee between 1990 and 2005 in order to highlight what information on violence was available. The study Violence against Children: What do NGOs know? What do NGOs say? provides a broad outline of how violence is reported in the different "settings" established by the UN Study on Violence Against Children (home, school, institutions, community, workplace) and according to regions. The study showed that there was a need to improve NGO reporting on violence against children.
Human Rights Council
The Working Group hosts side events and delivers written and oral statements on the topic of violence and children at the Human Rights Council (HRC), in its continuous effort to lobby and advocate within this international arena for the concrete eradication of the practice of violence against children at the ground level.
In light of the presentation of the report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, the Working Group organized a side - event at the 20th Session of the Human Rights Council (June 2012) to raise awareness on children as the indirect victims of violence against women and to highlight the lack of evidence on the impact on children who witness a parent or caregiver being subjected to violence, emphasizing the importance of focusing on these children – the ‘forgotten’ victims of violence. The report to the side – event will be available shortly.
Publications and key documents
Report: 'Children, the indirect victims of violence against women' - This report is the result of the information gathered and shared at a side-event that was organised by the WG/CAV during the 20th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2012 (Geneva). The report highlights the children who, all too often, remain the 'invisible victims' of violence against women.