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Trends & Policy

In recent years violence prevention and peace education became more present in the public. On international level in 1997 for the first time in the history all living peace price laureates have signed one document calling the Heads of State of the Member States to declare the year 2000 "Year of Education for Non-Violence" and the years 2000 to 2010 "Decade for a Culture of peace and Non-Violence"

Following this appeal year 2000 became UNESCO´s international year for the Culture of Peace. As of September already more than 75 Million people signed the Manifesto 2000 for a culture of Peace and Non-violence. The years 2001-2010 were declared “UN Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World” promoting peace education and violence prevention on all levels and areas of societies. World Council of Churches has declared 2001-2010 “ The Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV)“, a global movement striving to strengthen existing efforts and networks for overcoming violence.

In 2001, the General Assembly ( resolution 56/138 ) requested the Secretary-General to conduct an in-depth study on the question of violence against children, following a recommendation by the Committee on the Rights of the Child . The Independent Expert, Prof. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, was appointed in February 2003 to direct the Study, in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights , the United Nations Children’s Fund , the World Health Organization and the Study’s Partners. UN study highly recommends to prioritise prevention by allocating adequate resources to address risk factors before violence occurs, to enhance the capacity of all those who work with and for children and their families.

Read more about UN study results

In June 2007 UNESCO´s expert meeting “ Stopping Violence in Schools: What Works?“ concluded that awareness raising activities, promotion of non-violent values and non-violent conflict resolution skills, full respect of the rights of the child in every day life on all levels of society, especially in educational institutions are needed.

Read more about results from UNESCO´s Expert Meeting

27 November 2007, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly approved the resolution on the rights of the child including a focus on the elimination of violence against children. The resolution requests the UN system and other partners to ensure follow up and dissemination of the UN Study and to appoint for a period of three years a Special Representative on violence against children. The SRSG is expected to act as a high profile and independent global advocate to promote the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children in all regions, while avoiding duplication.

On an European level Daphne initiative, launched in May 1997, was supporting synergies and joint efforts to reduce violence against children (since 1999, also against young people and women) and promoted violence prevention. Daphne initiative was followed by Daphne programmes I-III (I launched in 2000, II in 2003 and III in 2007) and to date encourages cooperation between Member States, NGOs, research institutes, law-enforcement bodies, public authorities, schools, training establishments, media and other sectors vital in combating violence. The general objective of Daphne III is to contribute to the protection of children, young people and women against all forms of violence and to attain a high level of health protection, well-being and social cohesion. These general objectives will contribute to the development of Community policies, in particular those related to public health, human rights and gender equality, as well as actions aimed at protection of children's rights, and the fight against trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation.

Read more about Daphne Programme

In 2005 the programme " Building a Europe for and with children" 2006-2008 was implemented. With this program the Council of Europe is following an integrated approach to promote children's rights and to protect children from various forms of violence.  Action program ”Children and Violence“ includes a national policy review in Italy, Moldova, Norway, Portugal and Romania, in which each country is reviewing its national and local violence prevention policies aimed at children. NGOs, social workers, child-care professionals, specialised agencies and so forth are involved in the review, ensuring input based on a wide range of knowledge and experience. In late 2008 a handbook is scheduled for publication, including recommendations and guidelines collated into good practices. It is hoped that on an individual country level, the review will enable authorities to adjust existing policies or set up new ones, and on a pan-regional level that the final results will lay the groundwork for European guidelines on violence prevention policies for children.

On national levels violence against children, violence prevention and protection from violence are issues of interest for Governments all over the world. However there are differences in areas of attention, ways and intensity of addressing and evaluating them. Currently it is difficult to describe the differentiated and multifaceted situation in Europe. Diversity of addressing violence prevention and peace education varying even in different areas of the same country, diversity in developing and assessing policies, in data collection (tools and criteria) are making it difficult to compare and for countries to benefit from each others experiences.