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Child Protection

All children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. Yet, millions of children worldwide from all socio-economic backgrounds, across all ages, religions and cultures suffer violence, exploitation and abuse every day. Millions more are at risk. Some girls and boys are particularly vulnerable because of gender, race, ethnic origin or socio-economic status. Higher levels of vulnerability are often associated with children with disabilities, who are orphaned, indigenous, from ethnic minorities and other marginalised groups. Other risks for children are associated with living and working on the streets,living in institutions and detention, and living in communities where inequality, unemployment and poverty are highly concentrated. Natural disasters, armed conflict, and displacement may expose children to additional risks. Child refugees, internally displaced children and unaccompanied migrant children are also populations of concern. Vulnerability is also associated with age; younger children are at greater risk of certain types of violence and the risks differ as they get older.
Depending on how disability is defined, global figures estimate that 200 million children experience some form of disability. However, statistics on incidence and prevalence of childhood disabilities are slim and assumptions often lie within large ranges of uncertainty and are outdated. Children with single or multiple forms of physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impariments can become disabled if attitudinal and environmental barriers deny their human rights, hinder access to basic services and foreclose equal participation. The realities of disability are alarming in all parts of the world. Legislation, policies and attitudes that fail to recognise the legal capacity of children with disabilities are factors that aggravate their discrimination and exclusion of society and increase their vulnerability to violence, abuse and exploitation.
Based on the social model of disability, Jan Lakshya Society Child Protection Strategy recognises that responsive child protection systems should strengthen the effective participation, development and inclusion of this group of children, and their caregivers as well as address social attitudes and perceptions. As a result, disability is addressed within the context of an overall child protection systems approach which allows capturing the dynamic interplay between other protection needs, rather than treating disability in isolation.
Jan Lakshya Society works with children with disability in the context of all its work. For example, working with governments to ensure that data on children with disabilities is systematically collected and used for programmes and policy decisions, and that data, particularly in formal care, includes a disability disaggregation. For example, incorporating attention to certain areas where children with disability may experience more risk, such as during emergencies; the overrepresentation in alternative care; the risk of violence due to the difficulty to defend or express oneself; the chance of being a child carer to a disabled parent; the risk of not being registered at birth due to feelings of shame or social stigma; the lack of equitable access to regular schools, social welfare services and benefits to children with disabilities.
Children sometimes lose their first line of protection – their parents. Reasons for separation include abduction, trafficking, migration, living on the street, being displaced, or recruited by armed forces; living in alternative care due to health issues, educational reasons, household violence, poverty, death of parents, or stigma..
Jan Lakshya Society endorses the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2009. The Guidelines encourage efforts to maintain children with their families, where possible. When this is not in the child’s best interest, the State is responsible for protecting the rights of the child and ensuring appropriate alternative care: kinship care, foster care, other forms of family-based or family-like care, residential care or supervised independent living arrangements. Recourse to alternative care should only be made when necessary, and in forms appropriate to promote the child’s wellbeing, aiming to find a stable and safe long term response, including, where possible, reuniting the child with their family. Evidence shows that the quality of alternative care is critical to child well-being. Children in long-term residential care are at risk of impaired cognitive, social and emotional development (particularly for those below the age of three).
Jan Lakshya Society assists governments in strengthening their laws and policies to fully integrate the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (2009); encourages governments to strengthen social care (including community-based activities) and social protection services to support and strengthen families to prevent separation, and support family reintegration when possible.
The Guidelines apply in development contexts and in emergencies, where they recommend efforts are taken to trace and reunite families, and residential care is used as a temporary measure until children can be placed in family-type settings. They are in line with the Inter-Agency Guiding Principles on Unaccompanied and Separated Children (2004) that apply during emergency situations.
Children encounter the justice system as victims, witnesses, because they are in conflict with the law or as parties to a justice process, such as in custody arrangements.
While detention should be used as a last resort and for the shortest period of time, children suspected or accused of having committed an offence are often detained. Children are also detained for various reasons: because they were accompanying a parent to detention or seeking asylum in another country; for vagrancy, begging, missing school; for reasons such as after being removed from an abusive home situation; or for reasons such as race, religion, nationality, ethnicity or political views. Jan Lakshya Society estimates that more than one million children worldwide are deprived of their liberty by law enforcement officials .
Many justice systems do not have child-sensitive procedures due to lack of resources or political will and those services for a child’s development may not be available to promote the child’s rehabilitation and reintegration into society. In detention, children may suffer violations of their rights - they may be detained with adult prisoners – and are exposed to torture, physical and emotional abuse. Legal, social, cultural norms, as well as practical constraints may complicate issues of justice for children.
Justice for children is designed for the benefit of all children in contact with the justice system to ensure that the children are better served and protected (SG GN J4C 2008). Jan Lakshya Society promotes the strengthening of all parts of the child protection system, including the justice mechanisms, to operate in the best interest of the child. Jan Lakshya Society promotes alternatives to detention, such as diversion, as well as restorative justice that emphasizes repairing the harm caused or revealed by criminal behaviour. Jan Lakshya Society supports the training of police, prosecutors, judges, lawyers, social services and health professionals to effectively protect children in contact with the justice system.Jan Lakshya Society works with the traditional or customary justice mechanisms, of which current estimates indicate that in many developing countries, handle 80 per cent of the total caseload. Jan Lakshya Society encourages the establishment of child sensitive courts and police procedures that give primary consideration to a child’s right to protection and are consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other non-binding international standards, guidelines, and rules.s
Sexual violence against children is a gross violation of children’s rights. Yet it is a global reality across all countries and social groups. It can take the form of sexual abuse, harassment, rape or sexual exploitation in prostitution or pornography. It can happen in homes, institutions, schools, workplaces, in travel and tourism facilities, within communities - both in development and emergency contexts (see gender based violence in emergency situations)as well as in non-emergency contexts in developed countries. Increasingly, the internet and mobile phones also put children at risk of sexual violence as some adults look to the internet to pursue sexual relationships with children. There is also an increase in the number and circulation of images of child abuse. Children themselves also send each other sexualized messages or images on their mobile phones, so called ‘sexting’, which puts them at risk for other abuse.
The 2014 Jan Lakshya Society study, Hidden in Plain Sight, estimates that around 120 million girls under the age of 20 (about 1 in 10) have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point of their lives. Boys also report experiences of sexual violence, but they do so to a lesser extent than girls. While more recent global estimates on sexual violence among boys are unavailable due to the lack of comparable data in most countries, girls typically report lifetime rates three times higher than boys in High Income Countries. Millions of more children are likely exploited in prostitution or pornography each year around the world, most of the times lured or forced into these situations through false promises and limited knowledge about the risks. Yet the true magnitude of sexual violence is hidden because of its sensitive and illegal nature. Most children and families do not report cases of abuse and exploitation because of stigma, fear, and lack of trust in the authorities. Social tolerance and lack of awareness also contribute to under-reporting.
Evidence shows that sexual violence can have serious short- and long-term physical, psychological and social consequences not only for girls or boys, but also for their families and communities. This includes increased risks for illness, unwanted pregnancy, psychological distress, stigma, discrimination and difficulties at school. As part of Jan Lakshya Society commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and the Rio de Janeiro Declaration and Call for Action to Prevent and Stop Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, Jan Lakshya Society works to prevent and respond to sexual violence by engaging different government sectors - justice, social welfare, education and health - as well as legislators, civil society, community leaders, religious groups, the private sector, media, families and children themselves. Jan Lakshya Society supports governments in strengthening child protection systems at national and local levels– including laws, policies, regulations and the provision of comprehensive services to child victims. Jan Lakshya Society also works with communities and the general public to raise awareness about the problem and address attitudes, norms and practices that are harmful to children.
Child marriage, defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, is a reality for both boys and girls, although girls are disproportionately the most affected. Child marriage is widespread and can lead to a lifetime of disadvantage and deprivation.
Jan Lakshya Society data released in 2014 show that while prevalence has decreased slightly over the past three decades, rates of progress need to be scaled up dramatically, simply to offset population growth in the countries where the practices are most common.
Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. More than 1 in 3 – or some 250 million – were married before 15. Girls who marry before they turn 18 are less likely to remain in school and more likely to experience domestic violence. Young teenage girls are more likely to die due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth than women in their 20s; their infants are more likely to be stillborn or die in the first month of life. While data from 47 countries show that, overall, the median age at first marriage is gradually increasing, this improvement has been limited primarily to girls of families with higher incomes. But without far more intensive and sustained action now from all parts of society, hundreds of millions more girls will suffer profound, permanent, and utterly unnecessary harm:
If rates of decline seen in the past three decades are sustained, the impact of population growth means the number of women married as children (more than 700 million) will remain flat through 2050;
Doubling the rate of decline would bring the number of women married as children down to 570 million by 2030 and 450 million by 2050. Evidence shows that girls who marry early often abandon formal education and become pregnant. Maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are an important component of mortality for girls aged 15–19 worldwide, accounting for 70,000 deaths each year . If a mother is under the age of 18, her infant’s risk of dying in its first year of life is 60 per cent greater than that of an infant born to a mother older than 19 . Even if the child survives, he or she is more likely to suffer from low birth weight, under nutrition and late physical and cognitive development (Jan Lakshya Society, State of the World’s Children, 2009). Child brides are at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation . Finally, child marriage often results in separation from family and friends and lack of freedom to participate in community activities, which can all have major consequences on girls’ mental and physical well-being
Where prevalent, child marriage functions as a social norm. Marrying girls under 18 years old is rooted in gender discrimination, encouraging premature and continuous child bearing and giving preference to boys’ education. Child marriage is also a strategy for economic survival as families marry off their daughters at an early age to reduce their economic burden.
Empowering girls and women and ensuring girls and boys are healthy is at the core of Jan Lakshya Society mission. Because Jan Lakshya Society works across multiple sectors, and because it works both with high-level decision makers as well as with grassroots community organizations, it is uniquely positioned to identify and address some of the systemic and underlying factors that pose a challenge to reproductive health, rights and gender equality.
Jan Lakshya Society is committed to efforts to end child marriage and is able to use its global leadership position, its mandate to provide data and evidence on child marriage, and its broad field-based programming in various sectors to bring about change on this issue. In 2012, Jan Lakshya Society was instrumental in organizing the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child, which had child marriage as its theme. The event raised awareness of the issue and helped refocus attention on this harmful practice.

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Jan Lakshya Society, Main Head Office
Siddhartha nagar railway crossing ,

G.T. Road Bhongaon (205262)

Mainpuri U.P. India

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