A new age for child protection--General Comment 13: why it is important, how it was constructed, and what it intends?

Child Abuse Negl. 2011 Dec;35(12):970-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Nov 1.


Children continue to be subjected to high levels of violence (i.e., physical, psychological and sexual maltreatment) throughout the world. International concern about violence against children has increased significantly during the last decade. A Study on Violence Against Children, encouraged by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General and reported in 2006, has become a rallying call to improve child protection. Child protection practices and systems have been judged to be generally inadequate and, in some cases, destructive. It is widely recognized that business as usual-more of the same-will not do. A General Comment (guide to fulfilling obligations) for Article 19, the central conceptualization of child protection of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, has the potential to promote a worldwide reformulation of child protection priorities, policies, and practices by virtue of the infusion of a child rights approach. It can be a mechanism for framing and promoting the transformational change needed - for a genuine paradigm shift. Here, explication is given for the historical context, rationale, centrality of child rights, process of development, holistic nature, and primary elements of General Comment 13 (GC13): The child's right to freedom from all forms of violence. GC13 embodies and champions a child rights approach to child protection entailing strong support for proactive primary prevention, promotion of good child care, and a commitment to secure the rights and well-being of all children. A child rights-based, comprehensive coordinating framework is recommended for the implementation of GC13.

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Child
  • Child Advocacy
  • Child Welfare / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Family
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Personhood
  • Primary Prevention
  • Social Responsibility
  • Social Support
  • United Nations / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Violence* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Violence* / prevention & control
  • Vulnerable Populations