In 2001, 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 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. In 2003, the Secretary-General appointed Paulo Sergio Pinheiro as independent expert to lead the study.

The UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children addressed violence against children in five settings: the family, schools, alternative care institutions and detention facilities, places where children work and communities. The Study called for urgent action to prevent and respond to all forms of violence and presented a set of recommendations to guide the process of follow up. To promote dissemination of the Study and ensure an effective follow up to its recommendations, the Study called for the appointment of a Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children (SRSG).

The General Assembly took note of the Study’s recommendations and requested the appointment by the Secretary-General of a Special Representative on violence against children to act as a high-profile, global independent advocate to promote prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children (Resolution 62/141).