Child Protection

Every child has the right to be protected from violence and exploitation.

Boys and girls playing outside, China.
UNICEF/China/2015/Xia Yong

Challenges

Violence, abuse and neglect are global issues that affect children’s?development, including their?physical and mental health,?with?lasting effects and?significant costs to the economy?—?China?is?no exception.

  • There is a lack of representative data to determine the scale of violence against children, which is?a?critical barrier to making an efficient investment and?prioritizing?a?comprehensive child protection?response.??
  • Traditional norms dictate that what happens in the home is a family matter, and the public mostly tolerates harsh disciplining of children. These social norms and traditional views towards violence hamper people’s recognition of abusive practices and therefore hinder interventions by government authorities to prevent violence from occurring, to respond to violence when it happens, and to punish the perpetrators.?
  • Although child maltreatment?is prohibited?under the law, the laws and policies lack practical enforcement measures, leading to varying interpretations and?practices,?with most children?who?experience?violence not receiving the appropriate response they?need?and are entitled?to.??
  • Current public spending on prevention and response to violence against children remains very low. There are limited systematic, regular and sustainable social services and protective measures to address child protection risks and issues.?The number of qualified professionals to deliver such services is also limited.?
  • New technologies like the internet, although valuable, can put children’s safety and well-being at risk.?In recent years, online child sexual abuse, cyberbullying, privacy invasion, and?increasing?harmful online content, have become top concerns for?policymakers, parents,?the?internet?industry,?and?society at large.?

Solutions

UNICEF works with the Government of China to keep children safe from harm.

We support the development of an?integrated child protection system?to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of children.??This includes strengthening child protection laws and policies,?collecting better data, supporting child protection pilots,?scaling?up?good practices,?enabling?child victims and?professionals?to report?child abuse and neglect, cultivating a?culture of quality in welfare and protection services for children,?leading campaigns to end violence against children, and empowering children to be a part of the solutions.?

More specifically we are:?

  • advocating?for?laws?to be?consistent?with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and?for these laws to be implemented,?as well as?building?the capacity of the Government of China to implement?relevant?policies and?programmes.???
  • supporting?a?first-of-its-kind?survey to measure?the?prevalence?of violence against children.?
  • training?child protection professionals – e.g., social workers, public prosecutors, and judges – and community-based?paraprofessionals?to deliver quality services that are meaningful to a child’s protection needs and well-being.???????
  • ensuring parents, caregivers and communities have the skills they need to?avoid?harsh and abusive parenting and provide care that helps children’s?mental?and physical health and well-being -- i.e., positive parenting.?
  • working?with?policy makers, regulators,?parents, children?and the?internet?industry,?to?maximize opportunities and?minimize?risks for?children?online.??
  • creating child protection?mechanisms?in communities with different sectors of government to identify children?at?risk of abuse and neglect and provide them with the support they need through pilots and?programmes?like Child-Friendly Spaces and Barefoot Social Workers.?

Resources

These resources on?child protection?represent just a small selection of materials produced by UNICEF and its partners in the last two years. The list is regularly updated to include the latest information.