AS NEW figures reveal the cost of physical, psychological and sexual violence against children at up to US$7 trillion per year, Save the Children is launching new global level minimum standards for child protection with Australian-based organisations.
The minimum standards include things like establishing specialised playgroups for children in the aftermath of emergencies so that if they become separated from their parents, children can be registered and hopefully reunited, or working with parents to stop their children being recruited by armed forces.
“Protecting children in emergencies is critical, as we have recently seen in West Africa with the Ebola crisis where orphaned children are being evicted from their communities due to fear or ignorance and are left to wander the bush with no one to protect them,” Mr Ronalds said.
“Meanwhile Syrian children are being killed every day and many others are being separated from their families and being left with no protection. If they are lucky they might make it to overcrowded refugee camps.
“By ensuring that all Australian-based agencies are working off the same set of standards and using the same protocols, we are better placed to provide vital support like reuniting children with their families. It means we are more coordinated and efficient in preventing abuse and exploitation, and better able to provide children with the care and support they need to recover from emergencies, both in Australia and overseas.”
More than 400 individuals from over 40 countries and 30 agencies were involved in the development of the minimum standards, which were first launched by the Global Child Protection Working Group in Geneva in 2012 and are now being adopted by major international organisations like UNICEF and World Vision in Australia.
Save the Children along with members of the Global Child Protection Working Group and other experts on child protection in emergencies will conduct five days of intensive training on the minimum standards with child protection workers immediately following the official launch in Melbourne on Monday.
“It is fitting for Save the Children to launch the Child Protection Minimum Standards during the week we also mark the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Mr Ronalds said. Save the Children’s Founder, Eglantyne Jebb, is the original author of the principles which underpin the Convention and was largely responsible for its inception.”
New research by the Overseas Development Institute shows that physical, psychological and sexual violence perpetrated against children costs up to US$7 trillion annually, which is higher than the investment required to prevent much of that violence.
“Never before have we needed child protection minimum standards so much. This is a long-awaited and very practical way to make a massive difference for children living in crisis around the world, not to mention a timely reminder of how vulnerable children are during emergencies,” Mr Ronalds added.
Source: Save the Children Australia