MILLIONS of children remain homeless without care and protection. Simply passing a law is, therefore, not enough: it must be backed by an ongoing educational and awareness-raising initiative, capacity building, sufficient resources and collaborative partnerships, including children as full participants. This particularly applies when it comes to protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation.
For those working with abused or homeless children, and for these children themselves, the vision of the Convention on the Rights of the Child can seem light years away. Street children are usually deprived of almost all the rights embodied in the convention. Having escaped homes and orphanages fraught with violence and neglect, they continue to experience a cruel reality.
Many are forced into child labour and nearly all become victims of sexual exploitation. All violence against children can and must be prevented. A multidimensional approach, grounded in human rights’ principles and guided by evidence-based research, is urgently needed to prevent and respond to violence in all circumstances.