Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Vienna (Austria), 21 September 2021 – Millions of children throughout the world suffer from harm as a result of crime and sexual violence. Yet their rights have not been adequately recognized or respected everywhere, and they may suffer additional hardship during the justice process. The issues of child victims, witnesses of crime, and child sexual violence have been receiving increased national and international attention in recent years.
Member States are increasingly facing challenges when attempting to combine effective prevention and responses to address these forms of violence against children, as well as when adopting and implementing a child- and gender-sensitive approach that upholds children’s rights and safeguards public security. These challenges are exacerbated due to a lack of collection and analysis of segregated data, which limits identifying and addressing gender dynamics, as well as a failure to acknowledge that children differ from adults in their physical, mental and psychological developmental needs and vulnerabilities, and subsequently, differentiated responses and treatment should be directed solely at children.
UNODC is supporting Member States in preventing and responding to violence and crime and ensures that children are better served and protected by justice systems.
A series of three webinars on “Ensuring Child-Sensitive Communication and Appropriate Approaches for Child Victims”, targeting professionals and practitioners across Bosnia and Herzegovina, strengthened their capacity to deal more effectively with cases involving sexual violence against children.
Over 30 participants tackled the topic of prevention and response to sexual violence against children and learned about approaches and practical guidance to support government efforts to better treat child victims in line with international law. The webinars also presented how practitioners can contribute to protecting children from re-traumatization and secondary victimization while in contact with child victims.
As a result, the participants were able to increase their understanding of child development, children’s rights, and the negative impact of violence on children, as well as how to engage children as active participants in their own protection process and rehabilitation experience. In addition, they gained knowledge on the relevant international legal framework applicable to child victims and on how to engage with children and build trust through child-, gender- and victim-sensitive communication, and how to improve professional-child relationships by establishing positive communication.
UNODC, through its Global Programme to End Violence against Children, is supporting Member States in preventing and responding to violence and crime and ensures that children are better served and protected by justice systems.