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World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

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Created in 2000 and commemorated every November 19 (in synergy with the Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child), the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse is an annual global awareness campaign to create a culture of prevention of child abuse. An international coalition was launched in 2001 with the aim of increasing existing programmes and developing new prevention measures. The coalition, headed by the Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF), unites over 930 governmental and non-governmental organisations in more than 135 countries, all of which now mark November 19 with local and national activities and events. WWSF publications include global posters, calls to action for coalition members, newsletter and e-news, as well as global impact reports and campaign postcards and fliers. These outputs support the annual rallying call via WWSF's global partnership network of those committed to raising awareness, mobilising for action, and sharing and disseminating prevention programmes and innovative measures.
Communication Strategies: 

The World Day serves as a focal point for many governmental and nongovernmental bodies, institutions, organisations and networks, educators, experts, professionals and parents to rally a collective stand for zero tolerance of abuse and violence against children. Together, these collaborators focus on preventing child abuse, as enshrined in the third recommendation of the "World Report on Violence against Children", which is to "Prioritize Prevention". This effort revolves around non-governmental organisation (NGO) networking - joining together the efforts of those working for the dignity and rights of children. Each year, they organise regional and national activities to create a platform for information sharing and awareness raising about effective prevention and rehabilitation programmes and activities in communities. The goal is to empower organisations and the media to take responsibility for the problem of child abuse by teaching protective skills and by exposing them to local experts and those providing alternative opportunities for children in vulnerable situations. A further focus is on protective filters and guidelines for use of the internet.

Each year, the events are many and varied; further information about them is available on the WWSF website. In 2001, for instance, a public demonstration took place in front of the United Nations building; a reunion at the Temple de la Fusterie in centre city Geneva was held. Each year, there are also a number of local events designed to unite those committed to working to eliminate the problem of child abuse. WWSF's strategy in overseeing the events includes:

  • involving local interventions that catalyse change (i.e. drama, dance, music, puppets, drums, storytelling, dialogue circles, etc.)
  • declaring community ownership and responsibility for local events in all aspects (including financing, administration, training, etc.)
  • strengthening local moral values and allowing children to be involved in programmes where appropriate
  • assimilating new information and prevention programmes without jeopardising local values and language
  • identifying other organisations and religious groups that will take on prevention of child abuse and rehabilitation programs.

In addition, WWSF takes action to remind governments of their ratification of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (especially Article 34). For example, in 2001, WWSF submitted the "Petition Fusterie" to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) during a press conference to demand the urgent intervention of the UN, governments, and the media to ensure the implementation of the Convention. In addition, WWSF disseminated a public educational briefing entitled "Protecting Children from Abuse as of the Age of 3" in four languages.

Created in 2003, the WWSF Prize for the Prevention of Child Abuse has as its principal mission to award innovative activities in the field of prevention of child abuse and to encourage continuous efforts by NGOs to develop effective prevention measures and catalyse new energies. The WWSF Prize does not have an open call for nominations. Rather, the winners are selected from activity reports received from the field from coalition members as they mark the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse; that innovative work is the criteria for the selection of 4 candidates per year. First prize is US$3,000 for innovative prevention activities, honouring a unique and visionary activity serving as an example for annual events. Second prize is US$1,000 for significant prevention activities, honouring perseverance, past accomplishments and facing new challenges. Two additional awards of US$500 (each) are awarded for specific activities, honouring a particularly pertinent activity at the grassroots level.

WWSF is also compiling a database of internet links to prevention programmes of child abuse and violence against children so that good practices and innovative measures may be shared among child rights organisations and relevant groups. This database was launched on the WWSF annual World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse on November 19 2006. By sharing information through this clearinghouse, each organisation contributes to the creation of a culture of prevention.

Development Issues: 

Children, Rights.

Key Points: 

According to WWSF, the problem of child abuse and exploitation, especially sexual abuse and exploitation, demands increased local, national, and international attention and ongoing preventative and protective measures. Seventeen thousand people around the world have signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a petition launched in 2000.

Created in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 8 (International Women's Day) 1991, WWSF is a humanitarian, non-governmental, international, non-profit organisation with United Nations consultative status working to empower women, children, and NGOs. WWSF programmes serve to help implement women's and children's rights, to generate increased commitment and support for the realisation of agreed-upon development goals, and to hold world leaders accountable to their promises made at numerous UN summits and international conferences.

Partner Text: 

933 organisations in 135 countries in 2008.

Source: 

Email from Dignity Fund for children to the Communication Initiative on November 16 2001; World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse website; and emails from Elly Pradervand to The Communication Initiative on May 22 2009 and June 6 2009.

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