What is Child Protection in Humanitarian Action?
Child protection is the ‘prevention of and response to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children’.
The objectives of humanitarian action are to:
• Save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity during and after disasters; and
• Strengthen preparedness for any future crises.
Humanitarian crises can be caused by humans, such as conflict or civil unrest; they can result from disasters, such as floods and earthquakes; or they can be a combination of both.
Humanitarian crises often have long-lasting, devastating effects on children’s lives. The child protection risks children face include family separation, recruitment into armed forces or groups, physical or sexual abuse, psychosocial distress or mental disorders, economic exploitation, injury and even death. They depend on factors such as the:
• Nature and scale of the emergency;
• Number of children affected;
• Sociocultural norms;
• Pre-existing child protection risks;
• Community-level preparedness; and
• Stability and capacity of the State before and during the crisis.
Child protection actors and interventions seek to prevent and respond to all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. Effective child protection builds on existing capacities and strengthens preparedness before a crisis occurs. During humanitarian crises, timely interventions support the physical and emotional health, dignity and well-being of children, families and communities.
Child protection in humanitarian action includes specific activities conducted by local, national and international child protection actors. It also includes efforts of non-child protection actors who seek to prevent and address abuse,
neglect, exploitation and violence against children in humanitarian settings, whether through mainstreamed or integrated programming.
Child Protection in Humanitarian Action promotes the well-being and healthy development of children and saves lives.