Every child has the right to live free from violence, exploitation and abuse.
Violence against children knows no boundaries. It happens in every country, and in the places, children should be most protected – their homes, schools and online. It can be physical, emotional or sexual. And in most cases, children experience violence at the hands of the people they trust.
No matter their story or circumstance, all children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. Child protection systems help children access vital social services and fair justice systems – starting at birth. They reach out to the most vulnerable children, including girls and boys with disabilities and those who have been placed in alternative care.
All five Gulf States are making significant efforts to address child rights systematically and further strengthen their child protection systems. In some countries, child protection programmes are being decentralised with the establishment of child protection centres and services at the local level. At the same time, national frameworks focus on quality standards and inclusiveness. Juvenile justice reforms have been more gradual.
Despite these gains, estimates suggest that in some countries, at least 1 in 5 children experience some form of violence and/or abuse, either at home or in school. The concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the periodic reports of the Gulf States have expressed concern that some forms of child labour persist, particularly for females in domestic labour. Besides, concerns have been raised about the full understanding of levels of violence, increased bullying and online safety and the quality of services provided for victims of child sexual abuse.
UNICEF Gulf Areal Offfice's programme focuses on strengthening government capacities to generate data to better analyse the causes and extent of violence against children, strengthen national response systems and monitor the effectiveness of national responses. The data is also be used to assist Governments to increase national awareness of child rights.
UNICEF and partners facilitate the provision of technical assistance and access to high-level experts and international good practices appropriate for the Gulf. Technical and strategic support will strengthen the capacity of Governments to optimize existing child protection schemes. UNICEF supports government efforts to strengthen the capacity of families, parents and childcare providers to protect child rights and to identify, report and more effectively respond to violations of child rights.