Call to action
Children are not for hitting
Governments are ultimately responsible in responding to violence against children.
Efforts must be multi-faceted, combining strong responsive and preventive strategies which focus on the four “Ps”: Protection of children, Prevention of violence, Prosecution of criminals and Participation of children.
Whatever the action taken, the best interests of the child must always be the primary consideration.
1. National and local commitments are strengthened and there are actions to tackle violence in all settings, to care and rehabilitate child victims, to raise awareness and build capacity; and to carry out research and data collection.
2. All violence against children is prohibited by sending a clear message across societies that any form of violence against children is unacceptable and unlawful while reinforcing positive, non-violent social norms at the same time. Strong and enforceable legal sanctions should be implemented to deter violence against children.
3. Prevention must be prioritised by developing a consistent legal and policy framework that prohibits all forms of violence; challenges social norms which condone violence, and enhances the capacity of all those who work with and for children and families to promote non-violence.
4. The capacity of all who work with and for children must be consistently enhanced through systematic and long-term support, in pre-service as well as in-service training at all levels to ensure highly functional staff and high-quality services for children.
5. Recovery and social reintegration services must be provided to help reduce the risk of child victims of violence continuing the cycle of violence.
6. Children must be given a voice as they can make a significant contribution to both describing the problem of violence against them, and also to the design of services and other interventions that they can trust and use.
7. Child-friendly reporting systems and services must be accessible to enable children to talk in confidence about anything that is worrying or hurting them. Making confidential services available to children, including those most vulnerable to violence, challenges outdated concepts of parental ‘ownership’ of their children.
8. Programs must be accountable and impunity brought to an end. Court processes must ensure that child witnesses are treated sensitively, that they are not subjected to extended court proceedings, and that their privacy is respected. When the perpetrator is another child, the response should be focused on rehabilitation, while ensuring the protection of the affected child. The best interest of the child is paramount.
9. The gender dimension of violence against children must be addressed openly since girls and boys are at different risk for different forms of violence across different settings. In particular, the Study has found a need for men and boys to play active roles and exercise leadership in efforts to overcome violence.
10. Systematic national data collection and research efforts must be developed and implemented as these are critical for knowledge building and improved program development. Such plans should include children, parents, service providers and others.