Every child has the right to be protected from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect.
At least 1 billion children globally experience some form of violence each year. Violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect are global issues that affect children’s development, including their physical and mental health, with lasting effects for children and wider society — China is no exception.
The major challenges UNICEF, the Government of China, and partners are working to solve are:
|Legislative and administrative measures||
There are challenges to the enforcement and implementation of laws and policies, leading to varying interpretations and practices.Despite important progress in the legislation regarding protection of children, there are still significant gaps in the legal framework for child-care and protection services, prohibition of all forms of violence against children, and justice for children. For example, some offenses against children stipulated in the Criminal Law need to be updated to reflect child sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet.
|The social service workforce||There is a large gap between the social service workforce and the increasing needs for child welfare and protection services, in terms of numbers and quality. There are also disparities between urban and rural areas, with children in bigger cities being more able to access services.|
|Governance and accountability systems||
While some steps have been taken in terms of the coordination of child protection, more work needs to be done to improve the accountability of different stakeholders. This includes further clarifying mandates and building the capacity of the different government entities engaging in child protection to prevent and respond to violence against children, particularly education and health.
|Social norms that perpetuate violence||Traditional norms dictate that what happens in the home is a family matter. Generally, disciplining through corporal punishment is an accepted practice.|
|Data, case management and monitoring||
Data on the forms of violence, including those reflecting the gender dimensions of violence, is still not sufficient. A civil affairs database has been established that includes data on vulnerable children and children left behind. The database is triggering action, but further investment and commitment are needed to transform the database into an information management system (IMS) for child protection to improve the availability and quality of child protection data. This will assist in planning, resource allocation and action to protect children.
Together with the Government of China and partners, UNICEF will ensure that children, especially the most vulnerable, are better protected from violence.
|Strengthening laws and standards||
Capacity building and advocating for legal reform to end gender-based violence and discrimination resulting from traditional and cultural beliefs. Ensuring offenses against children stipulated in the Criminal Law are updated to reflect challenges such as child sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet.
Raising awareness on the legal mechanisms available.
|Professionalizing the social service workforce||Enhancing the capacity of the social workforce at both the community and statutory levels through standardized training and professionalization of services, with quality technical and supervisory support to social workers on the ground.|
|Enhancing governance and accountability systems||Advocating for increased leadership commitment to child protection. Through modelling and taking an integrated child protection system to scale, promoting effective coordination and oversight mechanisms to ensure quality and equitable child protection services.|
Challenging social norms that perpetuate violence
|Raising public awareness and promoting safe environments. Working with parents and caregivers to improve positive parenting attitudes, parent-child interactions, child development knowledge, and the resilience of parents and children.|
|Improving data, case management and monitoring||
Promoting an inter-agency child protection information management system, and systematically collecting data on all forms of violence, on the number of investigations and penalties against perpetrators, and on redress and compensation offered to victims.
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.