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The United Nations Study on Violence against Children

United Nations Secretary-Generals Study on Violence against Children

Questionnaire to Governments

Introduction

This questionnaire is designed to obtain information from Governments for the United Nations Secretary-Generals in-depth Study on the question of violence against children requested by the General Assembly in its resolution 57/190. Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro has been appointed by the Secretary-General as the independent expert to direct the study, in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and he has developed a concept paper on the study (E/CN.4/2004/68, annex).

In preparing the report, the independent expert will draw on a variety of sources and available information and statistics in addition to the responses to this questionnaire. These will include reports submitted by States parties under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as other human rights treaties, and information generated by United Nations conferences and summits, and their reviews, including the special sessions of the General Assembly, in particular the twenty-seventh special session of the General Assembly on children. Official statistics available from the United Nations Statistics Division and other statistical information available in the United Nations system, including UNICEF, WHO and the International Labour Organization (ILO) will be used. United Nations field presences will also be asked to provide pertinent information. Information will also be gleaned from non-governmental organizations and from regional and field-level consultations and expert group meetings which will form an integral part of the study.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has emphasized that the study should lead to the development of strategies aimed at effectively preventing and combating all forms of violence against children, outlining steps to be taken at the international level and by States to provide effective prevention, protection, intervention, treatment, recovery and reintegration (A/56/488, annex). The General Assembly called for the study to put forward recommendations for consideration by Member States for appropriate action, including effective remedies and preventive and rehabilitative measures.

Responding to the questionnaire

In providing responses to the questionnaire, Governments are requested to consider approaches which have been adopted at national level with respect to violence generally, and towards children in particular. They are also asked to take account of the fact that responses to all forms of violence against children might not be the task of one Government department only, and depending on your Governments structure may be within the competence of the federal, state, provincial or municipal authorities.

Governments may wish to identify a focal point responsible for coordinating responses to the questionnaire, and make this focal point known to the secretariat of the study.

If information called for by the questionnaire has been provided by the Government in another context, for example in reporting under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, reference to that document should be provided, and information contained in that document should not be repeated. Governments are also encouraged to provide copies of relevant laws, policies, reports etc.

The questionnaire is divided into seven parts, which deal with (I) the legal framework, (II) the institutional framework and resources to address violence against children, (III) the role of civil society in addressing violence against children, (IV) children as actors in addressing violence, (v) policies and programmes to address violence against children, (VI) data collection, analysis and research, and (VII) awareness, advocacy and training. Examples of issues and questions which are to be covered under each part of the questionnaire are provided for guidance. Governments are not required to cover each of these issues, but to select those which are most relevant to their national context. Additional issues, over and above those provided as guidance, can also be raised in responses.

Governments are encouraged to provide examples of good practices and innovative approaches to addressing all forms of violence against children, in order to assist in the dissemination and sharing of positive experiences. Governments are also asked to outline obstacles encountered in addressing the issue.

Definition of child

Governments should note that in providing information for this questionnaire, a child is defined as in article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child as [e]very human being below the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, the majority is attained earlier. Accordingly, information on strategies to address violence against girls and boys under 18 should be provided throughout.

Submission of responses

Responses to this questionnaire should be sent in both hard copy and electronic format in one of the six official United Nations languages no later than 31 July 2004 to:

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro
UNOG OHCHR
CH 1211 Geneva 10
Telefax: 41 22 917 90 22
e-mail: jconnors@ohchr.org

QUESTIONNAIRE

I. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

This part of the questionnaire aims to determine how your countrys legal framework addresses violence against children, including prevention of violence, protection of children from violence, redress for victims of violence, penalties for perpetrators and reintegration and rehabilitation of victims.

International human rights instruments

1. Describe any developments with respect to violence against children which have resulted from your country's acceptance of international human rights instruments, including, for example, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols, the Palermo Protocol or regional human rights instruments. Provide information on cases concerning violence against children in which your country's courts or tribunals have referred to international or regional human rights standards.

Legal provisions on violence against children

2. Describe how forms of violence against children are addressed in your country's constitution, legislation and subsidiary legislation, and, where appropriate, customary law.

3. Provide details of any specific legislative provisions on:

Prevention of all forms of physical, sexual and mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, and sexual abuse;
Protection of children from all forms of violence;
Redress, including compensation, for child victims of violence;
Penalties for perpetrators of violence against children;
Reintegration and rehabilitation of child victims of violence.

4. Indicate whether any specific legislative provisions address all forms of violence including physical, sexual and psychological violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment and sexual exploitation against children which take place in:

The family/ home;
Schools and pre-school care and education (both formal and non-formal, state and private);
Military schools;
Institutions including care, residential, health and mental health;
The context of law and public order enforcement including in detention facilities or prisons;
The neighbourhood, street and the community, including in rural areas;
The workplace (informal and formal);
Sports and sporting facilities.

5. Indicate if corporal punishment of children, in any setting, including in the family, is explicitly prohibited in your legal system. Provide details of any legal defences available to those who administer corporal punishment to children, including in the family. Provide information on penalties applicable to those who administer corporal punishment to children, including in the family.

6. Provide information on whether the penal code permits corporal punishment and/or capital punishment as a sentence for crimes committed by under 18 year olds.

7. Provide details on whether bullying/hazing and sexual harassment are explicitly addressed by legislation.

8. Provide information on the way in which harmful or violent traditional practices, including but not limited to female genital mutilation, child marriage or honour crimes are addressed in your country.

9. Provide information on the applicability of specific provisions to address all forms of violence against children to non-citizens and stateless children, including asylum seekers and displaced children. If specific provisions do not apply to such children, provide details of protection offered to them.

10. Provide information on any difference in the definition of violence and the applicable legal framework according to:

The sex or sexual orientation of the victim and/or of the perpetrator;
The age of the victim and /or of the perpetrator;
The relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, including, but not limited to infanticide, sexual violence in marriage, incest and sexual abuse within the family, and physical chastisement.

11. Provide information on any recent comprehensive review of the legal framework to address violence against children.

12. Provide information on any studies and surveys which have been undertaken to assess the impact of legal measures to address violence against children.

Courts tasked with addressing violence against children

13. Identify those parts of the court structure in your country tasked with addressing violence against children. Indicate if your family or juvenile courts have specific responsibility for this issue.

Minimum age for sexual activity

14. Provide information on any legislatively defined minimum age required for valid consent to sexual activity. Is this age different for girls and boys? Is this age different in respect of heterosexual and homosexual activities?

15. Provide information on the minimum age of marriage for women and men.

Sexual exploitation of children

16. Provide information on legislation and other measures to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children, including through prostitution and other unlawful sexual activities. Provide details on means to ensure that child victims of such exploitation are not criminalized. Provide information on legislation or other measures to prohibit all forms of sale or trafficking in children, including by their parents.

Pornography and harmful information

17. Provide information on legislation and other measures to prohibit the production, possession and dissemination of child pornography. In particular, please provide information on any controls on pornography produced and/or disseminated via the internet.

18. Provide information on any legislation or guidelines to protect children from injurious information and material transmitted through the media, Internet, videos, electronic games, etc.

Reporting obligations relating to violence against children

19. Provide information on legislation, regulations or administrative directives requiring reporting of all forms of violence against and abuse of children in all settings to appropriate bodies. If reporting legislation, regulations or administrative directives exist, please indicate whether all citizens are required to report, or whether the obligation falls on certain professional groups only. Provide details of any sanctions for non-reporting.

Complaints procedures

20. Provide information on any complaints procedures relating to all forms of violence against children perpetrated in:

The family/ home;
Schools and pre-school care and education (both formal and non-formal, state and private);
Military schools;
Institutions, state and private, including care, residential, health and mental health;
The context of law and public order enforcement including in detention facilities or prisons;
The neighbourhood, street and the community, including in rural areas;
The workplace (informal and formal);
Sports and sporting facilities.

21. Indicate whether children or persons acting on their behalf can access these procedures. Indicate whether legal aid is available to facilitate submission of complaints, and the circumstances in which legal aid will be available.

22. Describe steps which have been taken to raise awareness of possibilities to submit complaints about violence against children.

23. Provide information on any special procedural or evidentiary rules which may apply in proceedings with respect to violence against children.

24. Provide information on the usual outcome of complaints of violence against children (e.g. compensation, punishment of perpetrators, perpetrator rehabilitation, family therapy).

25. Provide information on the usual outcome of legal proceedings in which children and juveniles are found guilty of perpetrating violence (e.g. imprisonment, corporal punishment, community service, perpetrator rehabilitation, family therapy).

II. INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK AND RESOURCES TO ADDRESS VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN

The aim of this section is to establish if your country has an institution coordinating multi-sectoral activities concerning violence against children, which include prevention, protection, redress, reintegration and rehabilitation.

26. Are there any Governmental authorities, structures and mechanisms, including at federal, state/provincial, municipal and local level which are currently responsible for addressing violence against children?

If YES, identify these authorities, structures and mechanisms and describe how coordination is ensured.

27. Is there a lead Government authority tasked with responsibility for addressing violence against children?

If YES, provide details.

28. Are specific financial and/or human resources allocated by your country to address violence generally?

If YES, indicate the extent of these allocations.

29. Does your country allocate specific financial and/or human resources to activities to address violence against children?

If YES, provide details.

30. Do international or bilateral donors provide resources to your country for activities to address violence against children?

If YES, indicate the extent of these resources and the way in which they are used.

31. Does your country provide any assistance to other countries efforts to respond to the problem of violence against children?

If YES, provide details.

32. If your country has a national human rights institution, such as a human rights commission or ombudsman, or a child-specific human rights institution, does it have any role or competence in the area of violence against children, including receiving complaints?

If YES, provide details.

33. Are there any particular parliamentary structures (for example special committees) to address violence against children?

If YES, provide details.

34. Have there been any recent parliamentary initiatives to address violence against children?

If YES, please give details.

III. ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN ADDRESSING VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN

The aim of this section is to elicit information on civil society activities relating to violence against children.

35. Describe significant civil society initiatives addressing violence against children in your country, including the types of institutions involved (such as academic institutions, professional associations, womens associations, student associations, community-based groups, faith-based groups, child and youth-led groups, trade unions, employers organizations, national non-governmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations) and the major activities engaged in (including advocacy, awareness raising, research, prevention, rehabilitation and treatment of children harmed by violence, provision of services, provision of resources).

36. Describe the support provided by your Government for these activities and the efforts made to coordinate civil society and government initiatives.

37. Describe the role played by the media in addressing violence against children.

IV. CHILDREN AS ACTORS IN ADDRESSING VIOLENCE

This section is designed to extract information on childrens activities to address violence.

38. Provide information on the involvement and consultation of children in designing activities, and in implementation and monitoring of programmes and policies to address violence against them. Provide details, including ages and other details of the children involved.

39. Describe the involvement, if any, of children in designing special procedural or evidentiary rules applying in court proceedings with respect to hearings concerning violence against children. Provide details including ages and other details of the children involved.

40. Describe the amount and type of resources made available to support childrens participation in activities to address violence against children.

V. POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES TO ADDRESS VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN

A comprehensive policy for dealing with violence against children is one that addresses multiple forms of violence against children, that works across the different settings in which violence occurs, and which includes components for prevention, protection, victim medical, psychological, legal and social assistance, victim rehabilitation and reintegration, and perpetrator interventions. Such policy is distinguished from specific programmes that address selected sub-types of violence against children or its effects in specific populations and settings.

41. Does your Government have a comprehensive policy concerning violence against children?

If YES, provide details and describe any gender-specific provisions included in the policy.

42. Does your Government deliver, or provide direct support for delivery by other agencies, of specific programmes aimed at preventing and responding to violence against children?

If YES, please provide available summary reports, or URLs, of these programmes, and indicate, using the table below, which settings and types of violence are addressed by these programmes:

  Physical Sexual Psychological Neglect HTPs Other
Family / Home             
Schools             
Institutions          
Neighbourhood /
Community
           
Workplace            
Law enforcement            
Other            

43. Does your Government monitor the impact of these policies and programmes directed towards violence against children?

If YES, describe the monitoring systems and provide a URL or other reference where the system and outcomes are described in greater details.

44. Does your Government participate in any internationally coordinated activities concerning violence against children?

If YES, please provide details.

VI. DATA COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH

This section aims to provide an overview of information systems and information about violence against children that may be used to inform, plan and monitor policy, legal and programmatic interventions concerning violence against children.

45. Over the past five years, has there been any victimization, epidemiological or other population-based surveys of any forms of violence against children in your country?

If YES, provide details or references, or attach.

46. Have there been any small-scale or representative interview studies with parents and children on violent victimisation of children?

If so, please give details.

47. Over the past five years, has your Government conducted or commissioned any scientific research projects on the problem of violence against children?

If YES, indicate the subject of this research and where the findings of these projects may be consulted in more detail.

48. Have studies or surveys been undertaken into the impact of legal measures to address violence against children?

If YES, provide details or references, or attach.

49. Does your Government have a system for formal inquiries into all child deaths in which it is known or suspected that violence may have played any part?

Provide details.

50. Are regular (e.g. annual) reports published describing the statistical profile of the known or suspected violent deaths investigated by the system?

If YES, what proportion of all homicide deaths are under the age 18?

.%

51. If reports on the national profile of known and suspected violent deaths are published by your Government, indicate how the data is broken down for the purpose of reporting (check all that apply):

Sex   
Age   
Ethnicity   
Manner of death (homicide, suicide, undetermined)   
External causes of death (firearm, strangulation, etc.)   
Geographical location of incident (address)   
Scene of occurrence (home, school, etc.)   
Time and date of incident    
Victim-perpetrator relationship   
Other:    

52. Provide the total number of reported cases of violence against children in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

53. Provide the total number of convictions and reported cases for the various categories of crimes of violence recorded against children in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003.

VII. AWARENESS, ADVOCACY AND TRAINING

This section is aimed at gathering information on any awareness-raising, advocacy and training activities relating to violence against children which may have been conducted by your Government.

54. Over the last five years has your Government conducted or commissioned any campaigns for raising awareness of and preventing violence against children?

If YES, please describe any recent campaigns, including the settings and types of violence that were the subjects of the campaigns and the target audience (general public, caregivers, teachers, etc.).

55. How were the campaign messages and information disseminated (check all that apply)?

Print media    
Radio   
Television   
Theatre   
Schools   
Others   

56. Over the last five years, has your Government provided, commissioned or sponsored training programmes in the area of violence against children?

If YES, indicate which of the following areas were addressed by the last such training programmes and which provider groups received training (check all that apply).

  Prevention  Protection  Redress  Rehabilitation  Penalties 
Medical Professionals (including paediatricians, nurses, psychiatrists and dentists)            
Public health practitioners           
Social workers and Psychologists           
Teachers and other educators           
Court officials (including judges)           
Police           
Prison officers           
Juvenile offenders personnel
Institution personnel
Parents/guardians 
         
Other (please specify)           

Please provide details.

On 12 February 2003, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil as the independent expert to lead a global study on violence against children. The purpose of the study is to provide an in-depth picture of the prevalence, nature and causes of violence against children. It will put forward recommendations for consideration by Member States, the UN system and civil society for appropriate action, including effective remedies and preventive and rehabilitative measures at the national and international levels.

The study will be guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child which emphasizes children' s rights to physical and personal integrity, and outlines States parties obligations to protect them from "all forms of physical or mental violence", including sexual and other forms of exploitation, abduction, armed conflict, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It also obliges the State to enact preventive measures and ensure that all child victims of violence receive the support and assistance they require.

The UN General Assembly called for the study in 2001 acting on the recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. In overseeing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee held two days of general discussion on the issue of violence against children within the family and in school (2001) and state violence against children (2000). The request for an international study on the question of violence against children was an outcome of these days of discussion.

The independent expert, Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, is a former Secretary of State for Human Rights of Brazil and has directed the country' s Centre for the Study of Violence since 1990. He will hold the position for two years and carry out his mandate in close collaborations with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children' s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

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