UNICEF in action
Under its current country programme (2013-2017), UNICEF supports national efforts to end violence against children through the Ministry of Child Development and other partners to build child protection systems and integrate service provision so the focus remains on the child. Efforts are also underway to raise awareness around issues of violence, to improve service delivery, to strengthen reporting and data gathering systems and to work with the Ministry of Justice to expedite cases of child abuse.
As a result of this support, three safe houses exist in Ampara, Batticaloa and Jaffna districts (east and the north of the country) that provide interim care services for women or child survivors. UNICEF has also strengthened five Women and Children’s Desks in police stations in the Eastern Province to provide adequate and timely responses to victims, as well as supported the establishment of GBV Desks in hospitals in Jaffna, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara to enable early detection and referral of victims of GBV and those at risk.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, more than 900 police officers and other authorities (judiciary, health staff, Probation Officers, Child Rights Promotion Officers, Women Development Officers, and Social Services Officers) have been trained on domestic violence, including the Domestic Violence Act, and on their role in timely processing cases.
UNICEF has supported both policy development, capacity building, integration of service delivery of overall child protection systems in the country. This included the promotion of a community-based child protection systems, through the establishment of divisional- and village-level Child Protection Committees, as well as the development and implementation of a case management policy and protocol for child abuse cases, particularly those involving girls. More than 22,000 vulnerable community members have received coordinated, multidisciplinary care through integrated case management and case conferencing practices.
Technical support has also been provided to revise legislation on the Protection of Children such as the Orphanage Bill, Children and Young Persons Ordinance and to promote an increase of the Criminal Age of Responsibility from 8 to 12 years of age.