Child Protection System Approach
The importance of a systems approach to violence against children has become more and more evident in the last years. In South Asia, as in other regions of the world, there is an urgent need to overcome isolated, fragmented and reactive initiatives addressing child protection.
The governments of South Asia have followed up the recommendations to the UN Study on Violence Against Children (2006) to varying degrees. Current initiatives to protect children from violence are fragmented, largely uncoordinated and ad hoc. Adopting a child protection systems approach means children are treated as individuals and receive a comprehensive range of services for larger overall impact. It comprises the set of laws, policies and standards; services and service delivery mechanisms; human resources; coordination and collaboration on child protection; communication and advocacy; data and evidence to inform interventions, needed across all social sectors – especially social welfare, education, health, security, and justice – to prevent and respond to protection-related risks.
Responsibilities need to be spread across government agencies, with services delivered by national and local authorities, non-State providers, and community groups, making coordination between sectors and levels, including routine referral systems, a necessary component of effective child protection systems. Strengthening such systems requires attention to policy reform, institutional capacity development, planning, budgeting, monitoring and information systems. Child protection systems are most effective when structured around community-based protection and require an aware and supportive public.
Through the formation of the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC), governments have reiterated their commitment to addressing the enormous scale and urgency of violence against children in all forms.
While the UN Study’s recommendations are an overall broad framework for all governments in South Asia, SAIEVAC’s workplan provides specific actions for governments in the region and offers practical indicators to ensure governments can measure change.
At present, Save the Children Sweden chairs the child protection systems approach sub-group.
The representation and participation of children in SAIEVAC is on a continuous basis, allowing children in the SAARC countries to influence decisions at the national and regional level to end violence against children.
SAIEVAC supports the meaningful participation of children through the development of national and regional networks so children themselves can prevent and monitor violence, make recommendations to duty bearers and be involved in decision-making processes.
SAIEVAC also believes in raising children voices and allowing their opinions to be heard. In this regard children are represented on the Governing Board to ensure that the inputs from national and regional networks are brought to the decision making level of SAIEVAC.
Children’s recommendations therefore can be included into the SAIEVAC workplan while Regional Mechanism will seek to operationalise and facilitate their implementation.
Regular communication is kept with children at the national and regional forum level to ensure commitment, ownership and participation through different mediums, such as web-platforms and other virtual communication channels.