Every child has a right to be protected from violence, abuse, and exploitation.
Violence, exploitation and abuse against children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is widespread in all settings, including families, schools and communities. The DRC is one of the countries with the highest rates of gender-based violence directed towards children, accounting for 47% of survivors in emergency zones. Nearly one in two women aged 25 to 49 is affected by child marriage, often related to teenage pregnancies. In fact, 27% of girls aged 15-19 are pregnant and the DRC has the 7th highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the world.
In addition, 25% of children under five are registered in the civil registry, and only 14% have a birth certificate. This is due to a registration system struggling to reach new-borns, a difficulty accentuated in conflict zones.
A favorable environment for children
UNICEF strives to create an environment protective of the rights of children by strengthening formal and informal protection structures to prevent and respond to violence, exploitation and abuse. UNICEF supports the justice system to enforce the rights of children through legal assistance and care by children's courts, police protection units, mediation committees and foster families.
Birth registration is an essential process for the protection of children, which gives them access to social services. The birth registration program combines the systemisation of newborn registration with activities targeting children who have exceeded the legal registration period.
UNICEF supports the government to put an end to grave violations of children’s rights in conflict. Crisis response is provided through psychosocial support to child victims of violence, family reunification, reintegration of children either released from armed groups and forces or unaccompanied/separated.
For every child, safety
UNICEF works with partners around the world to promote policies and expand access to services that protect all children.