Child Protection Global Theme

Child Protection is one of five global themes prioritized by Save the Children to deliver its new strategy. The other areas are Child Rights Governance, Child Poverty, Education and Health and Nutrition.

Children have an absolute right to be safe. Yet girls and boys in every country, in every culture and at every social level face forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. These violations include sexual exploitation and abuse, trafficking, physical and humiliating punishment, harmful traditional practices (including early marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting) and recruitment into armed forces and groups.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), other human rights conventions, treaties, and national laws, governments have a legal obligation to protect children. But all adults share a responsibility to do so. Parents are primarily responsible for the upbringing and development of their children and, together with their family and community, have a key role to play in protecting them.

Over the course of the next few years, Save the Children will be strengthening our partnerships, scaling up our advocacy and increasing our cross-thematic work in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contribute to Save the Children’s 2030 breakthroughs:

  1. No child dies from preventable causes before their fifth birthday
  2. All children learn from a quality basic education
  3. Violence against children is no longer tolerated

Our priority areas

We will seek to answer key learning questions and strengthen our evidence-based approaches around the following three child protection priorities:

  • Preventing violence in the home
  • Ending violence in schools
  • Preventing sexual violence facilitated through information and communications technology

We have agreed to focus our child protection work on four sub-thematic areas:

From the library:

Child Protection Outcome Indicators

The Child Protection Initiative (CPI) is an internal mechanism, created by Save the Children in 2009, to improve the quality and increase the scale of the organisation’s Child Protection programmes.

In addition to this work, Save the Children will monitor the changing nature of conflict and enhance our focus on strengthening resilience. Cross-thematic work with other Save the Children initiatives, such as Child Rights Governance, education, child poverty, and health will also be strengthened and given higher priority. Lastly, gender will become stronger and our programs will become more inclusive towards the most deprived and marginalised children.

Photo: Hedinn Halldorsson/Save the Children

Our Approach

1. Child rights approach
Our approach is based on every child’s non‐negotiable right to be protected and cared for – ideally by their family or in a family setting. Children are not victims in need of assistance, but rights‐holders entitled to respect.

2. Supporting Child Participation
In line with our commitment to children’s rights, Save the Children will continue to support children’s own efforts to fight against discrimination, abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.

3. Advocating for National Child Protection Systems
Countries with strong child protection systems are better able to cope with and recover from conflict and natural disasters. Child protection systems are an integral part of emergency preparedness planning and disaster risk reduction and include provisions for working at sub‐national and cross‐border levels. A rights‐based national child protection system recognises the State’s responsibility and human rights obligations to children and provides governments with a coordinated and sustainable way to protect children. A good system is made up of laws and policies, a central government coordination mechanism with a clear mandate and an effective regulation and monitoring at all levels. A committed, competent workforce and child‐friendly, non‐discriminatory services should also be accessible to all children. Children and civil society should be involved in developing and monitoring child protection systems.

Published 2016-02-04

Save the Children's Child Protection Video

Definition Child Protection

The definition of child protection is the measures and structures to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence affecting children.

Children in every country, culture and society face various forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. The violence children face takes many forms, such as sexual exploitation and abuse, trafficking, physical and humiliating punishment (corporal punishment), harmful traditional practices (including early marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting) and recruitment into armed forces and groups.

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