Protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation
UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Liberia, the Child Protection Network of civil society organizations and the National Children’s Representative Forum for the protection of children form violence, abuse and exploitation, including the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
The Liberia Children’s Law, based on the UN Convention on the rights of the Child, and the African Charter on Child Rights, was passed in 2012 by the President of Liberia. UNICEF is supporting the government in accelerating implementation of the law by supporting the establishment of the new National Child Well-being Council that will spearhead and monitor progress. UNICEF’s partnership is also helping the county develop and strengthen policies and systems to ensure an environment that prevents violations of children's rights and provides appropriate and child-friendly responses to violations. Working closely with the dynamic girls and boys of the Liberian National Children’s Representative Forum, it is empowering children and young people to claim and exercise their rights, and facilitating the inclusion of children and youth in decision-making processes. Advocacy and interventions are also emphasizing inclusion of boys and girls living with disabilities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
A key priority for UNICEF is combat violence against children, more specifically the high levels of sexual abuse of children. In close collaboration with the government, civil society and development agencies, it is strengthening community-based protection and response mechanisms, working closely with child welfare committees, traditional and religious leaders, women and other community-based groups.
The child justice component is strengthening laws and justice systems, both formal and informal, in becoming more responsive to the rights and needs of boys and girls, including those affected by emergencies. The key focus are on: (a) expanding widespread recognition of and respect for children’s rights and children’s participation in decision-making processes; (b) strengthening systems to ensure that all girls and boys who come into contact with the law and security institutions are treated in a manner that is appropriate to their age and gender, with specific emphasis on underlying causes of widespread sexual violence against children and appropriate legal and protective responses for survivors; (c) preventing violations of children’s rights by providing boys and girls with adequate protection, including through involvement with traditional and religious leaders on prevention of child abuse (reduction in harmful traditional practices) and in generating an environment for positive adolescent development; and (d) involving girls and boys in leadership and peace-building efforts within their communities.
UNICEF interventions for enhancing social protection focuses on building sustainable systems for social services and creating safety nets for the most vulnerable children and their families, including those affected by emergencies. Strategies include (a) increasing government capacity to coordinate and deliver social protection services; (b) assuring that the most vulnerable households and individuals receive appropriate safety net transfers; (c) building the capacity of relevant stakeholders to manage social welfare cases, monitor residential facilities and promote family-based care; (d) increasing birth registration; and (e) enhancing safe and secure environments for survivors and children at risk of violence, harmful traditional practices, exploitation, discrimination, abuse and neglect.