Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability (VIP)

UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children

In 2001 the UN General Assembly called for a global study on violence against children, acting on the recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Independent Expert Paulo Sergio Pinheiro to lead the Study, in close collaboration with an interagency steering committee comprised of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the WHO. The Study has also relied on the participation of a wide range of other United Nations entities, non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and children. The Study is unique in bringing together human rights, public health and child protection frameworks and approaches.

In addition to reviewing published and grey literature, the Study draws on reports provided by 136 Governments in response to questionnaires requesting information on their efforts to address violence against children; nine regional consultations that involved the participation of children; several thematic meetings; and public submissions. The resulting reports provide an in-depth global picture of violence against children in five settings: the home and family, schools, care and justice institutions, the workplace, and the community. The Study documents the alarming magnitude and consequences of various types of violence against children, reviews what is known about the causes and protective factors, and highlights prevention strategies. It makes recommendations for the improvement of legislation, policy and programmes for preventing violence against children and providing services to victims.

The Study findings are presented in three main products which can be downloaded from the Study website in multiple languages:

  • The Secretary-General's report, the official report to the UN General Assembly, focused on recommendations;
  • The World report on violence against children , a more elaborate publication of the Study findings including more details, case studies, and information on good practices;
  • The Child Friendly materials, developed in collaboration with Save the Children.

The Study provides a strong platform for advocacy and action. “No matter whether it occurs in the family, school, community, institution or workplace, health workers are the front line for responding to violence against children,” said Dr Anders Nordström, WHO Acting Director-General, on the occasion of the launch in October 2006. “We must make our contribution to ensuring that such violence is prevented from occurring in the first place, and that where it does occur children receive the best possible services to reduce its harmful effects. States should pursue evidence-based policies and programmes which address factors that give rise to such violence, and ensure that resources are allocated to address its underlying causes and monitor the response to these efforts.”