SRSG on Violence against Children - Publications

Celebrating childhood:

A journey to end violence against children

October 2017

This book is about what ending violence against children takes, means and brings. It’s a celebration of childhood and a manifesto for a world where children can grow with dignity and free from violence.
It gathers inspiring testimonies of people whose talent and time are bringing us closer to a world of nonviolence for all children. The contributors are remarkable people of all ages and  backgrounds. They are visionary leaders and child rights defenders, scholars and artists, all of whom have demonstrated decisive commitment to build a better world for children.
We trust that you will be inspired by the personal stories, the professional achievements and the dreams and creations presented in this book. In the countdown to 2030, everybody counts. Children want to count on you! Every citizen of the world can be an agent of change. And this can inspire others to bring about the change we need. More

Toward a World Free from Violence 

Global Survey on Violence against Children    

                   New York, 17 October 2013

Freedom from fear and violence, and respect for the dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family, lie at the heart of the United Nations agenda. These values are the very foundation of cohesive and prosperous societies. Our efforts to end violence, whether state-sponsored or embedded in deep-rooted conventions or harmful practices, must start with the protection of our youngest citizens. Every child has the right to freedom from all forms of violence. This is not just common sense and basic morality; it is also an international legal obligation, as defined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the world’s most widely ratified human rights treaty. " More


Ending the torment: tackling bullying from schoolyard to cyberspace


Bullying, including cyberbullying, affects a high percentage of children at different stages of their development, often severely undermining their health, emotional wellbeing and school performance. Victims may suffer sleep disorders, headaches, stomach pain, poor appetite and fatigue as well as feelings of low-self-esteem, anxiety, depression, shame and at times suicidal thoughts; these are psychological and emotional scars that may persist into adult life.

Bullying is a key concern for children. It is one of the most frequent reasons why children call a helpline. It gains centre stage in surveys conducted with school children, and generates a special interest when opinion polls are conducted through social media with young people. More

Protecting children affected from armed violence in the community


Armed violence in the community compromises children’s rights and is associated with serious risks for their development and safety, causing children to be injured, disabled, traumatized, exploited, orphaned, imprisoned and at times killed. Living in a community affected by armed violence has consequences for children who are targeted as well as those who witness or feel threatened by such an environment.

Armed violence disrupts social harmony and family life, interrupts schooling, compromises health care, undermines economic development and generates fear which limits children’s ability to move freely, participate in the life of their community, enjoy childhood and develop as empowered citizens.

Protecting children from the impact of armed violence in the community is a priority concern for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children and is being pursued in cooperation with a wide range of partners within and beyond the United Nations. More

Safeguarding the rights of girls in the criminal justice system

Girls often face significant barriers to accessing justice, whether they are victims of crime, witnesses or alleged o"enders. All too often, legislation and criminal, administrative and civil proceedings are inadequate for the safeguarding of their rights, while appropriate policies for heir protection are absent or poorly implemented.

Many countries lack specialized judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other personnel qualified to work with girls, in addition to sufficient resources to provide the requisite training. The result is that institutions including the police and courts, are often poorly equipped to deal with the situation of girls and their specific vulnerabilities. 

Even when girls do overcome these barriers, it often
transpires that, far from a"ording support and protection, criminal justice systems are the setting for still more violence and stigmatization: at the hands of police, criminal justice o!cials and, in the case of detention, prison sta" and other detainees.

In short, as a consequence of their age and gender, girls face a double challenge when they come in contact with criminal justice systems, a challenge rooted in discriminatory attitudes and perceptions that persist in societies around the world. More

Releasing Children's Potential and Minimizing Risks - ICTs, the Internet and Violence against Children


Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are developing ever more rapidly, with profound effects upon societies around the world. They bring with them enormous benefits and opportunities, most especially by facilitating access to the Internet. ICTs are creating new ways of communicating, learning, delivering services and doing business.

For children and youth, who are often particularly adept at harnessing the potential of these technologies, ICTs and the Internet represent an important opportunity for empowerment and engagement, offering new means of experiencing creative processes, communication, social interaction, entertainment and learning. Children are not simply passive recipients of information; they are also engaged participants and actors in the online worldMore

Why Children’s Protection from Violence should be at the Heart of the Post-2015 Development Agenda - A Review of Consultations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda 


Freedom from violence is critical to achieving a sustainable future in which every child can grow up healthy, well-nourished, resilient, well-educated, culturally sensitive and effectively protected from neglect, abuse and exploitation.

As the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) draws near, the international community is discussing how to shape a sustainable development agenda beyond 2015. 

This year we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. As United Nations Member States intensify their efforts to agree on the next generation development framework, we have a golden opportunity to tackle violence against children. In recent consultations around the world, organized to help inform the post-2015 agenda, violence was recognized both as a human rights violation in itself and as a major barrier to progress in education, health and other development goals. Stakeholders highlighted children’s particular vulnerability to poverty and violence, and the message was clear - violence must end! More

Promoting Restorative Justice for Children


Today, more than 1 million children are deprived of their liberty worldwide, and countless children face violent and degrading treatment throughout the criminal justice process. In light of this dramatic situation, it is imperative to promote strategies that provide an alternative to detention and custodial sentences for children. 

This report examines the potential of restorative justice programmes to facilitate conflict resolution and provide appropriate protection to children. This applies to the justice system, whether children are victims, offenders or witnesses, but it also applies in a range of other contexts, including at school, in residential care units, in social welfare settings and in the community. 

The primary purpose of restorative justice is just that — to restore justice. Within families, schools, communities, organizations, civil society and the State, restorative justice provides peaceful conflict resolution and contributes to cohesive and democratic societies. More

Tackling Violence in Schools: Bridging the Gap between Standards and Practice



For child victims of violence, school can become an ordeal rather than an opportunity.

The promise and potential of education and the excitement of discovery and learning are undermined by pain, trauma and fear. In some cases children’s academic performance suffers, their health and wellbeing is affected, and their capacity to operate as confident individuals, capable of developing open and trusting relations with others, is compromised. The negative impact of violence in schools goes beyond the children who are directly affected by it. It touches the lives of those who witness it, creating an atmosphere of anxiety and insecurity incompatible with learning. More

Prevention and Responses to Violence against Children within the Juvenile Justice System


"In its resolution 18/12 of 24 September 2011 on human rights in the administration of justice, in particular juvenile justice, the Human Rights Council invited the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children to collaborate in the organization of an expert consultation on prevention of and responses to violence against children within the juvenile justice system and to submit a report thereon.

The Expert Consultation took place in Vienna on 23-24 January 2012." More


Safe and child-sensitive counselling, complaint and reporting mechanisms to address violence against children 


"Counselling, complaint and reporting mechanisms constitute critical remedies to address breaches of children’s rights, including violence in all its forms. Their development is anchored in international human rights standards and, in view of their urgency, the Brazil Congress against the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents called on their establishment in all countries by 2013. 

The need for safe, well-publicized, confidential and accessible mechanisms for children to report incidents of violence was also a serious area of concern addressed by the UN Study on Violence against Children. The Study recommended their establishment, including through telephone helplines which children can access to report abuse, speak to a trained counsellor in confidence, and ask for support and advice. " More

Protecting children from harmful practices in plural legal systems


Across regions, millions of children continue to suffer from various forms of harmful practices, including female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage, breast ironing, son preference, female infanticide, virginity testing, honour crimes, bonded labour, forced feeding and nutritional taboos, accusation of witchcraft, as well as a great number of other less known practices.

Harmful practices may be traditional or emerging, but generally have some cultural, social or religious underpinning. Common for most harmful practices is that they have devastating consequences on the child’s life, development, health, education and protection." More


Political Commitments by Regional Organizations and Institutions to prevent and Address Violence against Children

"The collaboration with regional organizations and institutions to advance implementation of the recommendations of the UN Study on Violence against Children has been a critical dimension of this process.

In the past two years, considerable progress has been achieved in this area with a growing institutionalization of regional governance structures and the development of regional initiatives. Leading regional organizations and institutions have pledged to protect children from violence, including the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the League of Arab States, the South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC), States in the Asia Pacific Region, the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), the MERCOSUR Permanent Commission Nin@sur, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the African Union and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child." More


Breaking the Silence on Violence against Indigenous Girls, Adolescents and Young Women


(...) in all societies there are practices to keep, practices to change and practices to reconsider. While indigenous peoples continue to value and perpetuate their culture and way of life, we should not be exempt from this type of reflection. We hope this report will trigger change so that indigenous communities – women, men, girls and boys – can play their role in guaranteeing a life free from violence and discrimination for indigenous girls, adolescents and young women. As the study exposes gaps in research and data collection in regard to violence against these groups, it is the collective responsibility of States, indigenous peoples, civil society organizations and United Nations agencies, funds, programmes and special mandate holders to further examine and assess their real experiences in order to effectively focus interventions and strengthen protective factors that work to prevent and reduce the likelihood of violence. More



Study on the follow-up to the implementation of the UN Study on Violence against Children for the Caribbean


Foreword SRSG Marta Santos Pais

"In 2001, the Committee on the Rights of the Child called for a comprehensive UN study on violence against children. A widely participatory process was set in motion for its development in which a wide range of actors within and beyond the United Nations system took part, including States, civil society organizations, religious leaders and children and adolescents.

As part of this process, nine regional consultations on violence against children were held, the very first convened in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. With this important meeting, the Caribbean region initiated a crucial process of regional involvement and ownership in favour of children’s protection from violence."


Mapeo Región América del Sur Implementación de las Recomendaciones del Estudio Mundial sobre la Violencia contra los Niños y Niñas


Prefacio Marta Santos Pais

Es para mí una gran satisfacción presentar el Mapeo Región América del Sur sobre la Implementación de las Recomendaciones del Estudio Mundial sobre la Violencia contra los Niños y Niñas. Este mapeo es uno de los principales resultados del procesoregional promovido en alianza con los Estados de América del Sur, con el Capítulo Latinoamericano ydel Caribe del Movimiento Mundial por la Infancia (mmi-clac) en el que están representados unicefy una fuerte coalición de representantes de la sociedad civil, y con la participación de las niñas, niñosy adolescentes, para dar seguimiento a las recomendaciones del Estudio Mundial.

El mapeo analiza el progreso alcanzado en la implementación de las tres recomendaciones priorizadas por mi mandato. El resultado del análisis regional muestra resultados muy positivos que evidencian las acciones promovidas a nivel de fortalecimiento del derecho interno de los Estados para prevenir y proteger a la infancia frente a la violencia." More


Mapeo Estado de situación de los países de Centroamérica, México, Cuba, y República Dominicana en relación con la violencia contralos niños, niñas y adolescentes en seguimiento al Estudio de Naciones Unidas sobre la Violencia contra los Niños


Prólogo Marta Santos Pais

"Este importante Mapeo es el resultado de un proceso amplio, comprehensivo y participativo desarrollado durante mi mandato como Representante Especial del Secretario General sobre la Violencia contra los Niños para avanzar el proceso de implementación de las recomendaciones del Estudio sobre la Violencia contra los Niños. El Mapeo fue promovido en el marco de la alianza estratégica con el Movimiento Mundial por la Infancia en América Latina y El Caribe (MMI-LAC).

Como acertadamente identifica el Mapeo, la agenda regional debe integrar la obligación de los Estados de garantizar la integración de un enfoque comprensivo de los derechos humanos, incluyendo los derechos de las niñas, niños y adolescentes en todos los contextos, entre ellos la agenda de la seguridad pública. Por ello, a partir de las iniciativas promovidas conjuntamente con el MMI-LAC, desde mi mandato continuaremos trabajando cercanamente con el SICA y con los Estados de la región con la finalidad de contribuir a integrar un enfoque comprensivo de los derechos del niño en los esfuerzos regionales que trascienden la temática de la prevención de la violencia juvenil, y promuevan la consolidación de una visión regional que respeta y protege los derechos del niño, la niña y el adolescente." More

Second Comparative Arab Report on Implementing the Recomendations of the UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children


Foreword by Ambassador Faeqa Saeed AlSaleh, Assistant Secretary General LAS

"Since the 1980s, there has been a continuous development of interest in rights of children in the Arab region. This was reinforced by the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and its two Optional Protocols. With the third millennium, interest in the situation of Arab children was further reinforced with the rights of the child gaining priority on the agendas of Arab Summit conferences since the Amman Summit (2001) to the Baghdad Summit (2012), in addition to the deliberations of specialized Arab ministerial councils. Thus, the Baghdad Summit adopted the “Marrakech Declaration” issued by the Fourth Arab High Level Conference on the Rights of the Child (2010) as a fiveyear commitment by Member States to improve the situation of children in the Arab region.

This Declaration emphasised the necessity of designing programmes that provide preventive, supportive and care services to child victims of violence, while applying corrective measures and ending impunity by strengthening punishments on crimes committed against children in all forms. The Marrakech conference also called for the adoption of national strategies to combat violence against children and legislate against all its manifestations." More

The Comparative Arab Report on Implementing the Recomendations of the UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children

Foreword by Dr. Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary

"The Social Sector at the League of Arab States (LAS) is pleased to present “The Comparative Arab Report on Implementing the Recommendations of The UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against hildren”, which was prepared by the Department of Family and Childhood (DFC), in its capacity as the Technical Secretariat of the Arab Childhood Committee. Following extensive regional consultations on the efforts of Arab States to protect children against violence, and a study conducted to this end, this Comparative Arab Report evaluates the efforts of 19 Arab countries to end violence against children, and presents a pan-Arab vision of future steps needed to provide protection for children against all forms of violence and abuse.

The Comparative Arab Report was first launched in Beirut – Lebanon in 2011 in the presence of representatives of States members of the League of Arab States and the United Nations Secretary- General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children (UNSRSG). The Report was also presented during the Fourth High-Level Arab Conference on the Rights of the Child (Marrakesh 2010) as one of the key reference documents for The Second Arab Plan of Action for Childhood. It is recognized in the Annual Report of the UNSGSR to the United Nations General Assembly (65/A/262) as “the first regional initiative worldwide in this respect, and the foundation for identifying needed reforms in the area of legislation related to ending violence against children”. More