Keeping children safe from harm and danger
Violence, exploitation and abuse in all forms puts children’s physical and mental health and education at risk, jeopardizing their development and entire future. UNICEF works to build a strong system to prevent and respond to violence against children and women in all contexts.
Most children in Uganda have experienced physical violence that threatens and halts their holistic and positive development – 59 per cent of girls and 68 per cent of boys. Gender-based violence and sexual violence are also pervasive, with some 35 per cent of girls and 17 per cent of boys having experienced sexual violence during childhood.
Girls are especially at risk of child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and female genital mutilation. Today, 4 in 10 women aged 20 to 49 years are married by 18 years, and at least 1 in 4 teenage girls are either pregnant or have a child.
Child labour is pervasive, with children mainly working in the informal sector. In rural areas, 93 per cent of children are engaged in agriculture and fishing.
UNICEF in action
UNICEF, with partners, places a particular focus on instituting measures to protect children, especially girls, who are more vulnerable, and works closely to ensure that:
- Children, their parents and caregivers, duty-bearers and peers know their rights and obligations, report violations and learn how to access child-protection services.
- Parents practise positive parenting and are responsive to child protection threats.
- Communities do not tolerate violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation and build a strong social movement against it.
- Essential child protection services (health, education, justice, police and social welfare) are child-friendly, capable, accessible and linked.
By 2025, the Child Protection Programme aims to free all children in Uganda from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation, including harmful practices, and realize their right to legal identity, by:
- Strengthening legislative, policy, budgetary and institutional frameworks.
- Building and enhancing capacities of children, families and communities to identify risks and prevent and respond to all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
- Ensuring that children and their families access quality cross-sectoral protection services, including birth registration.