Safety and justice

Ensuring that every child is safe and protected

UNICEF/2017/Ward

The challenge

Making sure that children in our region are safe and protected remains a huge task requiring exceptional vigilance. Many girls and boys are not growing up in safe environments and are exposed to levels of violence and abuse that are blighting their lives. 

According to research 20-40 per cent of girls in the Eastern Caribbean Area have faced sexual abuse. Up to 70 per cent of our children have experienced some form of physical violence or psychological abuse. In addition, too many young people end up in the juvenile justice system where they are jailed without other, more constructive, options being explored

According to research 20-40 per cent of girls in the Eastern Caribbean Area have faced sexual abuse. Up to 70 per cent of our children have experienced some form of physical violence or psychological abuse. In addition, too many young people end up in the juvenile justice system where they are jailed without other, more constructive, options being explored.   

A baby being held by his mother while a nurse leans over with an oral vaccination bottle.

The solution

Strong, comprehensive child protection systems are the first step to stamping out violence against children and women and improving safeguards for vulnerable children. Through our work with governments and other players we are seeking to make the Eastern Caribbean safe for every child. Keeping the promise to protect children. One of the most critical facets of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the Eastern Caribbean Area is the protection of every child from harm and neglect. The CRC, along with its three Optional Protocols, provides the framework to create the best conditions for children to grow, reach their full potential and play a full part in national development. UNICEF works with governments to fulfil their obligations as signatories. Creating safe environments UNICEF provides technical and financial assistance to help governments improve protection mechanisms and services for children. This includes help to:
 

Child protection

Given that the Caribbean is prone to natural disaster such as hurricanes, we work with partners to develop and help implement disaster preparedness plans. As well as looking after the immediate humanitarian needs of children, we offer support in the form of the “Return to Happiness” programme which helps children to deal with emotional trauma through drama, writing, poetry and play. Following the devastating hurricanes of September 2017, Irma and Maria, some 17,000 children in five countries have benefited from this psychosocial support.