Child protection

Child protection is the safeguarding of children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.[1][2][3][4] It involves identifying signs of potential harm, responding to allegations or suspicions of abuse, providing support and services to protect children, and holding those who have harmed them accountable.[5]

A child protection and development center

The primary goal of child protection is to ensure that all children are safe and free from harm.[4][6] This includes physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse; neglect; exploitation; and violence. Child protection also works to prevent future harm by creating policies and systems that identify and respond to risks before they lead to harm.[7]

In order to achieve these goals, child protection services must be provided in a holistic way.[8][9][10] This means taking into account the social, economic, cultural, psychological, and environmental factors that can contribute to the risk of harm for individual children and their families. It also requires collaboration across sectors and disciplines to create a comprehensive system of support and safety for children.[11][12]

It is the responsibility of individuals, organizations and governments to ensure that children are protected from harm and their rights are respected.[13] This includes providing a safe environment for children to grow and develop, protecting them from physical, emotional and sexual abuse, and ensuring they have access to education, healthcare and other basic needs.[14]

Child protection systems are a set of usually government-run services designed to protect children and young people who are underage and to encourage family stability. UNICEF defines[15] a 'child protection system' as:

the set of laws, policies, regulations and services needed across all social sectors – especially social welfare, education, health, security and justice – to support prevention and response to protection-related risks. These systems are part of social protection, and extend beyond it. At the level of prevention, their aim includes supporting and strengthening families to reduce social exclusion, and to lower the risk of separation, violence and exploitation. Responsibilities are often spread across government agencies, with services delivered by local authorities, non-State providers, and community groups, making coordination between sectors and levels, including routine referral systems etc.., a necessary component of effective child protection systems.

United Nations Economic and Social Council (2008), UNICEF Child Protection Strategy, E/ICEF/2008/5/Rev.1, par. 12-13.

Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for the protection of children in and out of the home. One of the ways to ensure this is by giving them quality education, the fourth of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in addition to other child protection systems. To protect a child has to start from conception, even how the conception took place can affect the child's development. For proper child development to take place child protection must be put into consideration.

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