Meetings held in 2009 with the African Union Commissioner (AUC) for Social Affairs and the Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) initiated institutional collaboration, including mapping positive initiatives across the region, supporting legislative reforms and consolidating national information and data systems on violence against children. This collaborative framework was further strengthened in 2010 by the thematic debate on violence against children, held by the African Committee with the association of the Special Representative. At the meeting, an agreement was reached on a strategic follow-up through enhanced advocacy to protect children from violence and promote positive alternatives to violent discipline; support for legislative and policy reforms to ban all forms of violence; the development of an African report on this issue; and the inclusion of the protection of children from all forms of violence in the agenda of a future summit of African Heads of State and Government.

Following the joint request by the Special Representative and the African Committee for more country-specific evidence of violence against children on the continent, the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) embarked, in close cooperation with the Office of the SRSRG, on the development of an African Report on Violence against Children.  The report provides a sound contribution to support Governments in their efforts to overcome persisting and emerging challenges, and to seize opportunities for improvement in violence prevention and children’s effective protection in Africa.

The African Report on Violence against Children greatly contributed to the wider Africa Fit for Children report by the AU, which seeks to evaluate the implementation of the commitments undertaken by Governments and examines the state of Africa’s children in all dimensions. 

The Office of the Special Representative enjoys a close collaboration with African partners to advance the right of all children across the continent to enjoy a childhood free from all forms of violence. 


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Thompson Reuters Foundation - "Children and Youth to meet UN Special Representat

Accra (Ghana): About 100 children and youth from 13 countries in West and Central Africa have gathered in Accra this week to meet the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General(SRSG) on Violence against Children (VAC), Marta Santos Pais. They will discuss the issue of harmful practices that violate the rights of children and young people in the...


The Guidelines for Action are a framework to achieve:

(a) Full implementation of AU and related international instruments such as are outlined in the Preamble bove;
(b) Practical guidance to African governments to assist them meet their treaty obligations at both regional and international level;
(c) An instrument to guide law reform and harmonisation efforts amongst States
(d) A tool for the co-ordination and...


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Marta Santos Pais Girl Child Harmful Practices

Every year an estimate of 10 million girls are married before they reach 18. In the most appalling of these cases, little girls as young as eight years old are being married off to men who may be three or four times their age.

Girls who are forced to marry face a life of violence in the home where they are physically and sexually abused, suffer from inhuman and degrading treatment and ultimately slavery.

Today, on the first...