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New UN CRC General Comment 13: "The Right of the Child to Freedom From All Forms of Violence" - Changing How the World Conceptualizes Child Protection

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 35 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 979-989
Kimberly A. Svevo-Cianci; Maria Herczog; Lothar Krappmann; Philip Cook
Date Published
December 2011
11 pages
This article examines how General Comment 13 of Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child changes the concept of child protection.
In order to strengthen countries understanding and implementation of Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted General Comment 13 (GC13) which advances best practice approaches and technical resources for countries working to prevent violence against children, and to strengthen programs, systems, services, research, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of efforts to prevent all forms of violence against children. This article examines the changes to the concept of child protection that have been made as a result of GC13. When GC13 was adopted by the CRC, it emphasized two important points: 1) changing the definition of a child from being property to that of an individual who holds rights to their own protection, well-being, and development; and 2) caretaker status applies to all those who have clear, legal, professional, ethical, and/or cultural responsibility for the safety, health, development, and well-being of the child. GC13 also changes the definition of violence to one that includes "all forms of physical and or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse." The article examines the ways in which GC13 can be used to more fully implement Article 19 of the UNCRC, including the roles and responsibilities of local, State, and national governments, as well as professionals who provides child protection services. Figure and references