Building a protective environment for children
Children are entitled to grow up in an environment that ensures they are protected. UNICEF helps create a protective environment for children that fortifies them against abuse in the same way that good health and adequate nutrition fortify them against disease. Creating this protective environment is the best way we can safeguard children from abuses.
UNICEF does this by raising awareness and enhancing capacities at various levels of society and in the government. A protective environment is one where everyone – from children and health workers to governments and the private sector – lives up to their responsibilities to ensure that children are protected from abuse and exploitation.
UNICEF’s approach recognizes that all children are entitled to protection – as laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF draws attention to the duties of governments, families, communities and individuals to respect those rights and supports them in doing so. In addition, children and adolescents themselves can play an active role in their own protection and as advocates for the protection of others.
UNICEF identifies eight key aspects of a protective environment
• Attitudes, traditions, customs, behaviour and practices
• Governmental commitment to fulfilling protection rights
• Open discussion and engagement with child protection issues
• Protective legislation and enforcement
• The capacity to protect among those around children
• Children’s life skills, knowledge and participation
• Monitoring and reporting of child protection issues
• Services for recovery and reintegration
Without any one of these elements, children are more vulnerable to abuse, violence, discrimination and violation of their rights.