Strengthening institutional child protection systems

Every child should be living free from violence. However, we have known for decades that violence is a common reality affecting children in our societies throughout the world. This is due to a combination of issues, such as week child protection systems, inadequate reporting systems, shame, stigma, apathy, and potential repercussions, but also simply because children, especially very young children, may lack the capacity to report.

Zanzibar’s Children Act

Zanzibar’s Children’s Act won the Gold Award for its comprehensive child rights law laying the foundation for a coordinated child-protection system while also implementing a range of obligations under regional and international conventions on the rights of the child.

In 2017 we hosted an international child rights conference on protection and participation of children in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous island region of Tanzania with representatives of ministries and policymakers from 12 countries, mainly from Africa and Asia, alongside experts on children’s rights and representatives from civil society.  The aim was to explore the positive impacts of Zanzibar’s Children’s Act, its child protection system and share success stories on child protection, child friendly justice and children’s participation in the drafting of the law. The participants also drew up the Zanzibar Declaration on Securing Children’s Rights, committing themselves to taking strong action to eradicate all forms of violence against girls and boys.

One feature of Zanzibar’s Children’s Act and its child-protection system are the One-Stop Centres which has inspired several policy makers.

Strengthening child protection systems 

The overall purpose of a Child Protection System is to promote the well-being of children through prevention of violence and exploitation, ensuring that in case it happens, prompt and coordinated action is taken to prevent further occurrence.

One-Stop Centre – a strong element for a strong child protection system 

One-Stop-Center (OSC) is a strong intervention tool to support child survivors of violence. The OSC are central contact points for children and their families affected by (sexualised) violence. Here survivors can find psycho-social support, a police office to initiate criminal investigation as well as medical treatment including collection of forensic evidence under one roof. Ideally, legal help is part of the centre.  

The One-Stop model in Ghana 

Inspired by the child protection conference in Zanzibar the Ghanian Delegation was very much interested in the One-Stop Centre model to enhance the Ghanian Child Protection System. 

In 2018 the World Future Council with the support of the Ghanian Department of Children organised a technical workshop with 30 key representatives and decision makers working in the field of child protection to discuss the need and to introduce the state agencies in the establishment and management of a one-stop-centre model in Ghana. We invited experts from Zanzibar to Ghana to share their insights expertise and practical experience and to support the Ghanian participants in drawing up the roadmap for a One-Stop Centre in Ghana.

Policy Handbook  

Protecting children from violence is one of the main working areas of the World Future Council. The aim of creating this policy brochure has been to delve deeper into individual country experiences to gauge at the best practices and lessons learnt to deduce some key requirements necessary to sustain One-Stop Centres (OSCs) responding to violence against children (VAC). 

Webinar Series  

During the enlightening discourse of our webinar, we expounded upon exemplary strategies tailored for safeguarding children within the African sphere, delving into the transformative potential inherent in the One-Stop Centre paradigm as a formidable tool in combatting the scourge of violence targeting the vulnerable demographic comprising girls, boys, and young women.