In some countries up to 1 child out of 4 suffers from abuse, exploitation, violence and neglect. Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children are estimated to experience violence annually; 150 million girls and 73 million boys worldwide are raped or subject to sexual violence every year; 115 million children are involved in hazardous work.
In humanitarian settings, in addition to the pre-existing issues, girls and boys are killed or injured, become orphaned, are separated from their families, are recruited into armed forces or groups, are trafficked or, worse, experience several of these at the same time.
In 2010 the members of the global Child Protection Working Group agreed on the need for child protection standards in humanitarian settings. The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action were developed between January 2011 and September 2012. The process of drafting the Minimum Standards involved over 400 individuals from 30 agencies in over 40 countries, including child protection practitioners, humanitarian actors from other sectors, academics and policy makers.
The main purpose of the Minimum Standards is to:
Establish common principles amongst those working in child protection, and to strengthen coordination between them
Improve the quality of child protection programming, and its impact for children
Improve accountability within child protection work
Further define the professional field of child protection
Provide a synthesis of good practice and learning to date
Enable better advocacy and communication on child protection risks, need and responses
These standards are intended for use by those working on child protection or related areas of humanitarian action. This includes 1) those working directly with children, families and communities 2) planners and policy makers 3) coordinators 4) donors 5) academics and 6) those working on advocacy, media or communications.
The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action follow the structure of the Sphere standards. Each standard is accompanied by key actions, measurements (including indicators and targets), and guidance notes.
Child protection in emergencies includes specific activities by child protection actors, whether national or community-based, and/or by humanitarian staff supporting local capacities. It also includes activities in other humanitarian sectors. The Minimum Standards therefore contain 26 standards: (a) 6 general standards to address child protection needs (b) 8 standards to ensure a quality child protection response (c) 4 standards to develop adequate child protection strategies and (d) 8 standards to ensure mainstreaming of child protection in other sectors.
Given the tremendous effort that has gone into drafting these Minimum Standards, it is important to ensure that due consideration is given to how these Minimum Standards will be promoted globally and how they can be applied in practice to humanitarian responses. This implementation plan outlined below serves as a road map to illustrate how the activities suggested to support the roll out of the Minimum Standards fit together to contribute to a greater goal and how the overall process can be monitored and evaluated.