Our learning about preventing and responding to violence against children
This is an exciting time for ChildFund. Guided by our global strategy, Destination 2020, we are strengthening our programming by consciously examining how violence in all its forms affects children.
We are working with an increasing range of partners to prevent and respond to violence against children, while pursuing interventions that contribute to positive developmental outcomes for children and youth.
We are making steady progress. Across our country programs, innovative research studies and new ways of collecting information are helping us to understand children and young people’s vulnerability to violence as well as the factors that protect them.
Our learning about children’s experiences of violence
Our increased investment in generating data is helping us to understand and analyze the factors that render children vulnerable to violence and is informing the types of interventions that we undertake to protect children.
What is our research telling us?
Our investment in collecting information is important:
It tells us the story of children’s lives and pushes us, as an organization, to reflect, innovate and mobilize resources to address the risks that children face. And, as our child protection mappings, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) data, and research studies reveal the violence that children and youth experience, we are tailoring our programs in response.
In this section, we share with you our learning, which is both informing our future research efforts as well as shaping our approach to programming so that we may better support children, families and communities.
“Measures to protect children from violence are essential at the community level.”
— Page 85
In many of the countries where we work, formal child welfare and protection systems are weak, under-resourced, and of limited reach within some communities — which means that direct interventions with children, parents, families, and communities are essential. We know too that, despite the challenges of establishing and sustaining community-based child protection mechanisms, they are often a helpful first option for mediating and resolving situations when a child is identified as vulnerable to violence.
Our commitment to protecting children
Our programs are already making a tangible impact on children’s lives. As we move forward, we are determined to build upon these gains, using our learning about children’s experiences of violence — and how it disrupts their development and well-being — to further shape our work.
Strengthening our child protection work is an ambitious undertaking and will take time. However, it is critical that we follow this path if we want to see our investments in other important child development spheres bear fruit.
We are making steady progress. Our interventions – from initiatives to reduce violence in schools and improve parenting practices, to anti-trafficking and youth advocacy programs – are showing us how we can most effectively partner with communities and governments to protect children.
In this section, we outline our commitments to protecting children. For example, we are committing to:
“Focus on the intersection between child development and child protection.”
— Page 85
As we increasingly understand the effects of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence on children’s development outcomes, our health, education, nutrition, and ECD programs will reflect and integrate learning from our child protection research. This intersectoral approach will give us a more complete picture of childhood and help us create complementary programs for children.
As our programs adopt a more integrated approach to child protection, we will begin to see the real impact on children’s lives. We believe that the changes we are making are a worthwhile investment so that children can grow up safe from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence, achieve their potential and lead fulfilling lives.