PROTECTION

Violence and abuse have a devastating impact on children. Yet right now, millions of children across the globe continue to experience forms of violence and abuse. Violence takes place at home, in school, online, in institutions, in the community, in armed conflict and in disasters. It can seriously affect a child’s development, dignity, and physical and psychological integrity. At Save the Children, we strive to ensure that violence against children will no longer be tolerated.

Worldwide

1 IN 4 

WOMEN AGED 20-24 WERE CHILD BRIDES.

*Data from Save the Children UK

732M

SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN NOT LEGALLY PROTECTED FROM CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

8M

GIRLS AGED 15–19 HAVE EXPERIENCED SEXUAL ABUSE

Our Impact in 2019

Save the Children Hong Kong supported protection programmes in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, directly providing services to 121,533 children and adults, and reaching more than 1.3 million people through public awareness activities.

India: Say No to Child Marriage

India: Say No to Child Marriage

17-year-old Najnin comes from a deprived family in the state of Bihar, India, where more than 90% of girls reside in rural areas with limited opportunities. Many vulnerable girls like Najnin face immense pressure to marry before the legal age of 18. Unfortunately, early marriage often puts a child’s wellbeing at risk. It poses significant threats to a girl’s ability to grow up safe, healthy, and protected.

In April 2019, Najnin joined Save the Children’s Sashakt Kishori project – which means “Empowering Adolescent Girls” – as a Discussion Leader, engaging her peers on critical topics in self-protection, gender equality, and livelihoods.

“I feel a lot has changed inside me, especially my confidence on self,” said Najnin of her first months with the programme. “ I took training on financial literacy and now I am better placed to manage the money I earn or will earn in the future. I also underwent training on making paper products, and the small amount of money I receive helps me to contribute to the family income and support my studies.”

The Sashakt Kishori project works with girls, their parents, and other community members, including boys and men, to protect adolescent girls and help them succeed. It trains girls on life skills, vocational skills, and financial literacy, which empowers the girls to negotiate within their families and villages for a more hopeful future. The project has helped to break down some of the long-standing, harmful social and gender norms that prevent girls from reaching their full potential.

“I keep inspiring all the girls to dream big, secure a good future and stand up against child marriage by all means. Since I joined the programme, no case of early marriage has been reported in my group,” Najnin added.

Laos: Supporting Ethnic Minority Adolescents for Responsible Parenthood

Laos: Supporting Ethnic Minority Adolescents for Responsible Parenthood

In Laos, ethnic minority populations in rural and mountainous regions are more likely to marry early. Young couples lack knowledge of how to manage relationships with their spouse and children, and how to access to employment opportunities, which negatively impacts the growth of their children. Save the Children Hong Kong has been supporting the Adolescent Initiative to empower ethnic minority adolescents in Laos to plan for healthy parenthood, and pursue safe, dignified livelihoods.

23-year-old Yer and 19-year old Nout are a married couple participating in the programme. They live in Nambak district, Luang Prabang, Laos and work as farmers. The meagre income they earn from farming made it difficult for them to support their fifteen-month old child.

“Before joining this programme, we did not know how to do many things, and we used to disagree with each other. Now we know more about how to support each other. We also gained skills in raising our child such as the cooking methods to better feed him. We learned how to better educate our son as well,” said Yer and Nout. “Previously we spent all our income and did not know how to save it,” said the young couple.

“We received some financial support from the project and learned how to make a small business to raise fish and chicken. Our living condition has improved.” By investing in adolescent education and livelihoods, Save the Children is helping to fuel change and create a better environment for children’s development.

China: New Mechanism to Better Protect Sexually Abused Children

China: New Mechanism to Better Protect Sexually Abused Children

In China, investigation into suspected child sexual abuse cases usually involves numerous rounds of questioning of the victims separately by public security officers, the procuratorate and lawyers court. Repeated recall and description of the traumatic experience can create additional suffering for the victims. To assist these victims, Save the Children partnered with the Public Security Bureau, judiciary, healthcare services and a social work organisation in Panlong District in Kunming to set up a local One-Stop Evidence Collection and Protection Centre in March of 2018. Children suffering from suspected sexual abuse can go through the inquiry, body and health check-up and injury assessment within one single visit.

Moreover, a multi-disciplinary working group comprising various professionals such as social workers, medical workers and psychologists conducts quick assessments on each case, then formulates a rehabilitation plan for the child and his/her family, and later carries out follow-up checks.

To cater for children’s needs, the centre is designed with a homelike setting, placing lots of lovely stuffed dolls and toys on the sofa and boxes of toys reachable to children, trying the best to let children feel safe and comfortable. Hidden synchronised audio and visual recording equipment is installed in rooms. When the police conduct inquiry on the victims, other professionals including procuratorates, social workers and psychologists in another room can understand the situation and observe if it is appropriate to continue the inquiry via video. They can communicate with the police through earphones to ask necessary follow-up questions, so as to avoid repeated questioning needed later. As the victims are mostly girls, policewomen are trained to conduct inquiry so that the victims will be more willing to disclose details.

The centre is the first of its kind in Southwest China. The Juvenile Justice Committee of China Association of Criminal Procedure and Law will conduct on-going research on its unique consultation mechanism.

A police officer from the Panlong Sub-district of the Public Security Bureau said, “The centre works on the principle of maximising benefits for children, which is conducive to combating crimes and protecting the rights of minors.”ment.

Nepal: Ending Corporal Punishment against Children

Nepal: Ending Corporal Punishment against Children

“After my husband passed away due to prolonged sickness, I got overwhelmed with stress and increased workload. I even started beating my children on a regular basis,” said Kiran Paswan, a mother of four children from Gaushala municipality of Mahottari district in Nepal. “However, after I attended the training on positive parenting, I became conscious of my damaging habits and refrained myself from such bad behavior.”

Through the Child Protection in Communities and Schools (CPCS) project, Save the Children conducted a total of 350 training sessions on positive parenting for parents across Nepal, aiming to create a safer, more protective and child-friendly environment in the home and community.

One of the most prominent achievements of the CPCS project was the passing of Nepal’s Children’s Act 2075 on 18 September 2018, that protects children against all types of corporal punishment, including physical & humiliating punishment in all settings such as schools and homes. The newly passed law follows eight years of advocacy and campaigning by Save the Children and other organisations.

The new Act establishes Nepal as the first country in South Asia and the 54th country globally to achieve a complete ban of violent forms of discipline – an important stride towards making the country a safer place for children.

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