Partners discuss the UN Secretary-General's study on violence against children
Maputo 16 October 2006- Government officials, NGOs and associations involved in the protection of children met last week in Maputo to discuss the findings of a global study on violence against children presented to the UN General Assembly on 11 October.
The study provides a picture of the nature, extent and causes of violence against children around the world. The study finds that the majority of violent acts experienced by children are perpetrated by people who are part of their lives. These acts take place in their home and family, schools and educational settings, care and justice systems and in workplaces.
The study concludes that the impact of the response to violence against children has been limited by several factors, including lack of knowledge or understanding of violence against children and its roots causes, a situation that is aggravated by the lack of comprehensive data and statistics. It also points out that efforts to address the issue are often reactive, focusing on symptoms and consequences and not causes.
“This study provides all of us with the opportunity to take forward the recommendations in a concrete way in order to make real progress in the reduction of violence against children in our communities here in Mozambique” says UNICEF Representative in Mozambique Leila Pakkala.
The Eastern and Southern Africa region participated in the development of the global study. Each country responded to a questionnaire detailing the situation of violence against children and actions being taken at national level. Participants from 22 countries in the region, including 56 children, also attended a regional consultation meeting held in Johannesburg in July 2005.
In last week's roundtable, Save the Children presented a briefing on the participation of children in the development of the study. The roundtable discussions highlighted the urgent need to coordinate the actions and programmes developed by the various partners. Participants pointed out that communities– especially community leaders and school councils– should be involved in all strategies aimed to respond to violence against children at district level.
The discussions conveyed the importance of organizing debates in order to provide communities with information on the existing laws and policies which protect children. During the meeting, participants also called for an active participation of the media and stressed the need to allocate appropriate resources for concrete actions at district level.