Child participation

Supporting child participation to end violence against children

Personal security and life in peace are the most urgent problems faced by people around the world. Inequality and lack of policies for children and youth are identified as crucial drivers of violence; and the elimination of all forms of violence against children as a crucial benchmark in the development agenda. It is imperative to take into consideration the views expressed by those who are most affected - children and young people themselves! Their voice leaves no doubt as to the priority attached to freedom from violence. But they need to enjoy a genuine opportunity of influencing the shaping of the road ahead - not simply in accidental occasions, but as true partners and agents of change.


Regional consultation with children and adolescents on their protection from bullying and cyberbullying

To inform the report of the Secretary-General on protecting children from bullying , the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children organized in Montevideo a regional consultation with children, in cooperation with the Government of Uruguay under the Pro Tempore Presidency of the Standing Committee Initiative Niñ@sur of MERCOSUR, and together with the Global Movement for Children of Latin America and the Caribbean (MMI LAC) and the Regional Network of Girls, Boys and Teenagers, REDNNYAS. The regional meeting gathered 28 girls, boys and teenagers from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The consultation provided a strategic platform for children to reflect on the root causes of bullying and cyberbullying and on the urgency of prevention and response measures. The outcomes of the consultation were included in the report of the Secretary General and in the annual report of the Special Representative to the General Assembly. A brochure and a video on the consultation were developed to document and disseminate the outcomes of the consultation held in Uruguay. 

Brochure English
Regional consultation with children and adolescents on the protection of children from bullying and cyberbullying


Brochure/Panfleto Spanish
Consulta regional con niñas, niños y adolescentes sobre la protección de los niños contra el acoso escolar y el ciberacoso



Report of UN Secretary-General on protecting children from bullying

The General Assembly requested the SG to prepare a report (A/RES/69/158) on “Protecting children from bullying” with information provided by Member States and relevant stakeholders, in collaboration with  United Nations entities. The report was submitted to the United Nations General Assembly at its seventy-first session in 2016.

The information gathered proved invaluable as a source of information to the report of the Secretary-General on protecting children from bullying to governments. Of the many sources of information for the report were children’s direct experiences and views on bullying shared without filters or adult interpretation. 

The report on bullying is part of a broad agenda to end all forms of violence against children (reflected in the Sustainable Development Goal 16.2). To achieve this, Governments must modify their legislation, develop policies, gather relevant information, raise public awareness, etc. A key component of the report is the views and experiences of children themselves. The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children (OSRSG-VAC) prepared the report, ensuring children voices were reflected in the report.

With the assistance of UNICEF Country Offices and using U-Report social messaging tool we reached over 100,000 children from around the world capturing their views on bullying to feed into the report. Children and young people from the following countries provided their opinion: Chile, Ireland, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, Ukraine, Global (other countries).

This is not a scientific sample of children and young people’s opinions, and statistics could be skewed since participants were self-selected, opening the possibility that those having experienced or witnessed bullying were more likely to participate.

Some results

1. Almost nine in ten children and young people believe bullying is a problem, confirming the urgent need to address this form of violence.

2. Two thirds of children and young people have been victims of bullying. We did not ask how often, for how long it went on, or how intense or detrimental was the bullying.

3. The reasons for being bullied could be group quite evenly into four groups: one quarter of children and young people feel they have been bullied because of their gender or sexual orientation; almost one quarter because of their ethnicity or national origin; one quarter because of their physical appearance and a little over one quarter for all other reasons.

4. Over one third of victims of bullying told a friend or sibling, one third told no one, and less than one third told an adult - less than one in ten told a teacher. This could be explained by several reasons, from economic, including access to formal education, to cultural, including the perception of the role of teachers or the pedagogical methods used in some countries.

5. One third of children and young people thought being bullied was normal so they did not tell anyone. One quarter of victims did not know who to tell. Almost half of children and young people did not tell anyone because they were either afraid or ashamed of doing so.

6. Children and young people’s understanding of why bully happens are quite evenly distributed in four groups: because adults do not see bullying, because kids are mean, because it is part of school, or they do not know.

7. Over eight in ten children and young people believe they need to part of the solution by raising awareness and addressing bullying in school. Less than 1 in ten believe the approach should be just legal prohibition, and even less, believe that bullying will decrease or disappear by training teachers. This last point raises a critical issue: either we are looking on the wrong direction or much work needs to be done in increasing children’s trust on teachers.

What is U-Report


U-Report is a social messaging tool that communicates with young people around the world, encouraging them to voice their opinions on issues that affect them. U-Report polls young people through SMS, Twitter, Telegram and other web based channels, and visualizes collected data in a public website, with the goal of delivering positive social change.

U-Report is active in 40 countries across 4 continents, and represents more than 4 million young people who today are U-Reporters



Building safe urban spaces for and with children

On the occasion of the III World Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development – Habitat III – held in Quito from 16 -20 October 2016, the Office of the SRSG on Violence against Children joined hands with the Global Movement for Children of Latin America and the Caribbean (MMI LAC), the Regional Network of Girls, Boys and Teenagers, REDNNYAS, Save the Children and World Vision to organize a series of national consultations and a regional consultation with children, young people and mayors from Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru in building safe urban spaces for and with children. About 400 children and adolescents between 6 and 16 years participated in this process. The consultations were supported with child friendly tools and by the development of a child friendly version of the New Urban Agenda “The cities of our dreams”

The cities of our dreams

La ciudad de nuestros sueños

The outcomes of the consultation with children and mayors were presented by young participants during the side event organized on October 19 by the Special Representative “Strengthening the role of mayors to safeguard children’s rights to freedom from violence in urban settings”. The event was supported by UNICEF, the Habitat Secretariat, the MMI LAC, the Regional Network of Children and Adolescents of Latin America and the Caribbean, Know Violence Initiative and the Igarape Institute.

In addition, children and young people contributed to the reflections during the Children and Youth Forum convened by the Habitat Secretariat and during the Special Session on Safer Cities organized by UN Habitat in cooperation with the Special Representative. This Special session focused on the means of implementation of the New Urban Agenda, including the evidence-base and knowledge sharing, with particular emphasis on the positive practices in building safer urban environments worldwide. A child representative of the Regional Network of Children and Adolescents of Latin America and the Caribbean (REDNNYAS) presented the recommendations made by children during the process of national and regional consultations on the cities of their dreams.

The activities and the links to the materials and tools developed for and with children during this process are documented here “Supporting children and youth participation in Habitat III”

The voices of children who have a mother, father or guardian deprived of liberty

In support of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty , the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Chidlren is joining hands with the Uruguayan NGO Gurises Unidos and the Regional Platform for children with an adult deprived of liberty (NAPPES Platform) to ensure that the voices and experiences of children are integrated in the process of elaboration of the Global Study.

In August 2017, 26 children from 6 to 17 years of age who have a parent or a guardian deprived of liberty participated in local focus groups held in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Uruguay and in a regional consultation held in Dominican Republic. The views of children informed a brochure which presents the impact of deprivation of liberty in the lives of children and the recommendations formulated by the children delegates to ensure the protection of their human rights.

Brochure in English: The voices of children and adolescents who have a mother, a father or a guardian deprived of liberty. A contribution to the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

Brochure/Panfleto in Spanish: Las voces de las niñas, niños y adolescentes que tienen una madre, padre o tutor privado de libertad. Una contribución para el Estudio Global sobre Niños Privados de Libertad.


ASEAN Children’s Parallel Session held on the occasion of the SRSG Seventh Cross-Regional Round Table on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Children

The Seventh Cross-Regional Roundtable was hosted by the SRSG and the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN), during its 50th anniversary under the chairmanship of the Philippines, from 6-8 June, in Manila.

The Cross-Regional Round Table is a strategic UN-based platform established to support dialogue and cooperation between regional organizations and institutions on children’s concerns generally, and on violence against children in particular. The ASEAN Children’s Parallel Session was held alongside the Seventh Cross-Regional Round Table and gathered children delegates from ASEAN Member States and from the Republic of Korea. This was the first time that children participated in the annual Cross-Regional Round Table convened by the UN Special Representative on Violence against Children, which had always been attended only by adults.

The Children’s Parallel Session was organized by ASEAN in close collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development of the Philippines (DSWD) and the Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia), a regional network of child rights and human rights organizations composed of 13 member organizations from 11 countries in Asia.

Children delegates addressed the key themes of protection from bullying and online abuse, and the empowerment and participation of children to prevent and address incidents of violence. Children delegates stressed the importance of having a loving and supportive environment at home, within schools and in the community. They called for awareness raising and information sharing initiatives to become empowered citizens, identify risks, report incidents and seek help from child sensitive services. They recognized the need for urgent government action, including laws, policies and budgets, as well as good parenting initiatives and capacity building programmes for professionals working with children. They also wish having genuine opportunities and platforms for open discussions with young people. Furthermore, children stressed that everyone has a role and if we are willing to step up and end violence against children, then we can make the world a better place.

Part of this year´s Roundtable’s result was the child-friendly material of the ASEAN Children´s Parallel Session that The ASEAN Children’s Forum, CRC Asia and the office of the SRSG would publish in 2018.

Fourth Regional Children´s Meeting

The 4th Regional Children’s Meeting was organized by Child Rights Coalition Asia and counted with the participation of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children. The Meeting was held on 10 to 15 August 2017 in Thailand. A total of 25 children (16 girls and 9 boys) from 9 countries, namely, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, participated in the said activity. Two (2) child participants and one (1) Adult Support represented the Child Rights Coalition Asia (CRC Asia)’s member organizations. The outcome of the Meeting is a module that can be used as a guide to conduct similar trainings with and for children in developing their advocacy campaign/materials to advance the safeguard of their human rights.

Children's declarations


Children's declaration from Central America and the Caribbean

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 1-2 December 2011





Declaration of the Young Persons of the Caribbean

Kingston, Jamaica 15 May 2012



Manifesto of children and adolescents from Latin American countries taking part in the South American Meeting for Follow-Up to the United Nations Study on Violence against Children and Adolescents

Asunción, Paraguay- 29 April 2011


 Kathmandu, Nepal - 29th September 2011




Latin America and Caribbean participation in the Habitat III Global Conference

Quito, Ecuador
17th - 20th October 2016