Course taster

The international child protection context

International agencies work to raise awareness of and prevent child abuse. These include the following:

In 2006, WHO and ISPCAN published the world's first international guide on 'Preventing Child Maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence'. This demonstrated the importance of a global acknowledgement and response to the abuse and neglect of children.

Following this, in 2016, WHO published 'INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children', and, in 2018, 'The INSPIRE Handbook: Action for Implementing the Seven Strategies for Ending Violence against Children'. These further highlighted the importance of a consistent international approach to child abuse and neglect, which is crucial at this time, given increasing globalisation.

Stop and think

Take a moment to reflect, to read through the resources highlighted in the previous section and watch the following video. Whilst watching the video, think about the following:

Helping families at risk:

- training parents in child-rearing
- ensuring nurse visits families at home
- decreasing alcohol dependency
- stopping corporal punishment
- educating children to recognise abuse

Can you see any difficulties arising from the points suggested above? You may like to record you thoughts in your Personal Journal for comments (The link to the Personal Journal is not available in this course taster).

Prevent child abuse and neglect

View Prevent child abuse and neglect video transcript

Together with the international organisations mentioned in the above section, the United Nations puts forward the 17 Sustainable Development goals (SDG). They are:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-Being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequalities
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships for the Goals

These global goals are considered to be the 'blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.' (UN 2023)

Stop and think

Consider how the Sustainable Development Goals can help with a global response to child protection.

Watch the following video on Sustainability Development Goals for more information:

Do you know all 17 SDGs?

View Do you know all 17 SDGs? video transcript

Children's Rights

Another International agency concerned with the protection of children is the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), previously known as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. This organisation operates programmes 'guided by' The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (1989).

The UNCRC, ratified by the UK in 1991, is an international treaty of rights that covers all children up to the age of 18 years old. According to Such (2014:10), '1989 is special because it presents a watershed in establishing a rights framework for children which includes their right to participation'.

The Definition of a Right According to Save the Children (2005:14), 'the core concept of a right is that of an agreement or "social contract" which is established between the person(s) who holds a right and the person(s) or institution(s) which then have obligations and responsibilities of that right'.

According to the UNCRC (1989), children are the holders of rights and should be able to exercise these rights in all situations. There are difficulties with this, however, as highlighted by Such (2014).

Writing in your Personal Journal, describe where tensions could occur around the rights described by the UNCRC (1989). In particular, consider this in relation to Article 19.

Watch the following clip from the UNCRC (1989).

United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child

View United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child video transcript


Critical reflections on the UNCRC

Aim: To read and answer questions on an article about Children's Rights

Duration: 60 minutes

Journal article which you can access in the module reading list.

Feedback: Your tutor will read and may comment on your thoughts on the discussion board (The link to the discussion board is not available in this course taster)


Read the journal article Quennerstedt, A., Robinson, C., and L'Anson, J. (2018). The UNCRC: The Voice of Global Consensus on Children's Rights? Nordic Journal of Human Rights, 36(1), pp. 38-54 mentioned above and make notes in your Personal Journal on the following points (The link to the Personal Journal is not available in this course taster).

Summarise your thoughts (max 250 words)on the Discussion Board.

- What are some of the critical debates around the UNCRC?

- What does Reynaert argue in relation to children's rights?

- How many states have ratified the UNCRC?

- Which government launched the debate on children's rights?

- How would you define the theoretical concept of 'consensus'?

- Identify some of the rights that created debate during the drafting.

- What theory does the article adopt in relation to the framing of the UNCRC?

- What are your personal thoughts on the article?