The United Nations' Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children

The United Nations' Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Violence against Children is a global independent advocate to promote the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children. The core responsibility of the SRSG is to advance implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Study on Violence against Children (2006), building upon health and child protection initiatives and developments, and promoting the protection of children from violence as a human rights imperative. The SRSG cooperates closely with human rights bodies and mechanisms, with United Nations funds and programmes and specialized agencies, and with regional organizations. The SRSG also promotes cooperation with national institutions and civil society organizations, including children and young people.

The United Nations' Study sets forth an urgent agenda to combat all forms of violence against children and to prevent violence before it happens, emphasizing the urgency of tackling the underlying causes and risk factors of violence. The Study calls for child sensitive economic and social policies that address poverty, gender and other forms of inequality. Its recommendations provide a navigation chart to accelerate and monitor progress in violence prevention and responses. In view of their particular urgency, the Study identified time-bound targets for three of these recommendations. For this reason, the SRSG gives special attention to them by promoting:

  • The development in each State of a national comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to all forms of violence, mainstreamed in the national planning process, coordinated by a high-level focal point with leading responsibilities in this area, supported by adequate human and financial resources to support implementation, and effectively evaluated;
  • The introduction of an explicit legal ban on all forms of violence against children, in all settings; and
  • The promotion of a national system of data collection, analysis and dissemination, and a research agenda on violence against children.

VPA focal point

Joost Kooijmans Special Assistant to the Special Representative Tel: +1-212-824-6270 Email:

Joost Kooijmans is the Special Assistant to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary- General on Violence against Children, based in New York. Previously, he worked as a senior legal officer in the International Labour Organization's International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). He has also worked for a number of years for the International Labour Organization in Southern Africa and for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and has served as an expert for the European Commission.