Child protection

No child should live in fear

A sillhouette of a child.
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The challenges

All children have the right to be protected from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The consequences of violence range from the immediate impact on their development, such as physical injury, learning ability and school performance to long-term harm that they carry into adult life. In Thailand, there are an average of 52 children being sexually, physically or psychologically abused, neglected, or exploited each day or more than 2 children in every hour.

Physical violence, such as spanking and beating, is still accepted as a normal way of disciplining children. Although corporal punishment is banned in schools, the practice continues. 

3 in 4

3 in 4 children aged 1–14 years have been subjected to at least one form of psychological aggression or physical punishment by household members in the past month. Moreover, 4.2 children in every 100 children are subjected to severe physical punishment.

Nearly half

Nearly half of parents and caretakers believe that physical punishment is necessary to raise or educate a child.

More than 10,000

More than 10,000 children are treated in hospitals each year due to violence, mostly sexual abuse.

Reported cases of violence against children are on the rise. According to the One-Stop Crisis Centre, hospitals tended to more than 10,000 such cases in 2015; around two-thirds of those cases related to sexual violence – mostly sexual abuse against girls. Due to limited functioning of the current child protection system, many incidents likely go unreported.

The number of children in conflict with the law is also a concern. Many researches confirmed that abused and neglected children are at increased risk for juvenile delinquency. According to the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, 33,121 children came into conflict with the law in 2015. Most cases related to drugs.

The solutions

UNICEF Thailand's work on child protection focuses on strengthening the child protection system to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children. This builds on efforts for law reform and enforcement, promotion of appropriate attitude on violence, development and strengthening of essential services and rehabilitation, and building capacity of family, community, and service providers, etc. 

UNICEF aims to provide technical assistance to:

  • generate  evidence to inform advocacy;
  • promote legislative and policy reform to align with global commitments on Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the commitment of Thailand to ban corporal punishment as a result of the 2016 Universal Periodic Review, Minimum age of criminal responsibility, etc.;
  • track budgets for enhanced implementation of child protection; 
  • develop a proper structure for child protection workforce;
  • develop capacities of child protection professionals that include social workers, health professions, legal professions (police, public prosecutor, and judge) to work individually as well as a multidisciplinary team;
  • strengthen the information management system to improve case management and planning capacity; and
  • tackle persistent attitudes and practices that perpetuate violence against girls and boys by modelling positive parenting and positive discipline through behaviour and social change communication approaches.