United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

3 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries through country programmes and UNICEF national committees. The heart of UNICEF's work is in the field and each country office carries out UNICEF's mission through a unique programme of cooperation developed with the host government. Country programmes focus on practical ways to realize the rights of children and women. UNICEF's work is fully a part of the United Nations system and UNICEF works in collaboration with other UN agencies at the country, regional and global level.

UNICEF Child Protection Programme

Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is an integral component of protecting their rights to survival, growth and development. UNICEF’s commitment to protecting children is underlined in UNICEF's Child Protection Strategy (CPS), approved in 2008 and contains two main pillars that are applicable in all contexts, including emergencies: 1) strengthening child protection systems – including laws, policies, regulations and services across all social sectors but especially social welfare, education, health, security and justice; and 2) supporting social change that contributes to improved protection of children from violence, exploitation and abuse. We draw on our Core Corporate Commitments, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Millenium Declaration and numerous international human rights agreements as the basis for our response.

UNICEF advocates and supports the creation of a protective environment for children in partnership with governments, national and international partners including the private sector, and civil society. National child protection systems, protective social practices and children’s own empowerment coupled with good oversight and monitoring are among the elements of a protective environment and enable countries, communities and families to prevent and respond to violence, exploitation and abuse.

Key Issues addressed under Child Protection

Violations of the child’s right to protection take place in every country and are massive, under-recognized and under-reported barriers to child survival and development, in addition to being human rights violations. Children subjected to violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect are at risk of death, poor physical and mental health, HIV/AIDS infection, educational problems, displacement, homelessness, vagrancy and becoming poor parents later in life.

VPA focal person

Theresa Kilbane
Child Protection/UNICEF
Email: tkilbane@unicef.org
Tel: +1 917 265 4554

Theresa Kilbane is the Senior Advisor, Child Protection, Programme Division at UNICEF. She leads the team responsible for UNICEF’s work in Social Norms and the Prevention of Violence and Abuse of Children. Theresa served as the Chief of Child Protection for UNICEF Mozambique from 2007-2010, and with UNICEF Mexico from 2002-2006. From 1996-2002 she provided technical guidance to UNICEF headquarters and field offices on programming for child rights in urban areas and child protection. Ms. Kilbane has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Kent State University, and a Master in Urban Planning/concentration on International Planning, Columbia University in New York City. She has worked in New York, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Mozambique.