Council of Europe Policy guidelines on integrated national strategies for the protection of children from violence (2009)

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In November 2009, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a Recommendation containing Guidelines on integrated national strategies for the protection of children from violence. They are a response to the request of the Heads of State and Government to the Council of Europe to effectively promote children’s rights and to eradicate all forms of violence against children.

The core recommendation of these guidelines is the development by States of an integrated national strategy for the protection of children from violence. The strategy should be:

  • Multi-faceted and systematic: integrating all governmental levels (national, regional and local), with a specific timeframe, realistic targets, a single coordinating and monitoring body and provided with adequate human and financial resources.
  • Focus on prevention and protection: through measures of education, awareness raising and professional training to service providers.
  • Include measures for the development of child-friendly public services and mechanisms (for example, in the justice system).

It is highlighted that the state has the explicit obligation to protect children from all forms of violence. Appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures should be taken to prohibit all violence against children at all times and in all settings. Amongst other forms of violence against children, it is imperative to prohibit harmful practices such as female genital mutilation.