Protección de los niños, niñas y adolescentes

Protection of children and adolescents

Protección de los niños y adolescentes

Derecho al nombre

Violencia y maltrato infantil


Comisión Nacional por los Derechos del Niño


Defence Centers


The Defence Centers for Children and Adolescents are places where boys, girls and adolescents can denounce situations where their rights are ignored or infringed, such as the violence suffered at home, at school or in the community. The Defence centers have three main functions: they provide counselling, resolve the reported conflicts and refer cases to a specialist when it is a crime.

In 2012, 306 defence centers reported that they have attended to more than 106 200 individuals. Among the problems on which they assisted, 35% affected boys and girls under the age of six and 29% from six to 11 years old. Overall, 85% of the cases included boys, girls and adolescents under the age of 18 years old 2 . The Defence Centers for Children and Adolescents were created following the promulgation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child , the legal document which proposed the creation of defence centers as a mechanism to promote, defend and monitor children’s rights. Currently, there are 2 270 defence centers registered by the Ministry o f Women’s Affairs and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP, 2012). These are located in all the regions of the country. There are various types of defence centers:

✦ Community Defence Centers (21%): These are formed within a community due to the social commitment of grassroots organizations; community associations; and neighbourhood, farmers and indigenous organizations, to protect the rights of boys, girls and adolescents.

✦ School Defence Centers (29%): These work within the school frame. The director of the establishment is the person in charge of the center, while the teachers are the advocates of the rights of children. The teachers who are members of the defence centers are elected by the students via a secret ballot. Students also participate in the School Ombudsman as promoters of advocacy.

✦ Church Defence Centers (7%): There are two types of Church Defence Centers: the diocesan and the parish. Firstly, the Bishop appoints the priest, religious or secular, to be in charge of the diocesan defence centers. Secondly, it is the priest himself, religious or pastoral, who chooses the person who is in charge of the Parish defence center. In both cases, the defenders and promoters are volunteer parishioners, whose work is directed to providing services to the entire community where the church is located.

✦ Municipal Defence Centers for Children (DEMUNAS) (43%): These are the Ombudsmen who serve the largest number of individuals as they are located in urban districts, towns and communities. The DEMUNAS are created through an Edict or a Session of the Municipal Council. They are then incorporated in the organizational structure of the municipality.

UNICEF promotes the training and implementation of defence centers, in its various forms, to ensure that the rights of the child are met. In the most remote and isolated regions of the country, UNICEF has built alliances with non governmental organizations, municipalities and civil societies to implement Community Defence Centers. UNICEF aims to increase the access to this service. Accordingly in 2013, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Vulnerable Population (MIMP) has successfully increased the number of Municipal Defence Centers for Children and Adolescents, reaching 60% of the municipalities at the national level.


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