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close this bookEmpowering Women and Children (WWSF, 2002)
close this folderChildren's Section
close this folderWorld Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPoster/Open Letter
View the documentCoalition Members
View the documentCoalition Impact


Why a World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse?

Together, let us create a culture of prevention

Child abuse, especially sexual abuse, is a universal and alarming problem and increased attention and efficient protection skills and prevention measures are necessary at family-, local-, national- and international level.

After a long tradition of silence, sexual child abuse is being more and more denounced and becoming a public and political topic.

Alerting Governments and civil society organizations to play a more active role in the promotion of and respect for the rights of the child (article 19 and 34* of the Convention on the Rights of the Child), and contribute to the prevention of child abuse, WWSF launched in 2000 the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, a Day to be commemorated every 19 November in synergy with the anniversary of the International Day for the rights of the child (20 November) which has as its objective to be a rallying point around the issue of child abuse and the need for urgent effective prevention programs.

To make the Day a global call for action, WWSF launched in 2001 an international NGO coalition that marks the World Day with appropriate events and activities to focus on and increase prevention education.

* Art. 19 - States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

* ART. 34 - States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent:

(a) the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity;
(b) the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices;
(c) the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

Why a NGO Coalition to mark World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse?

The main purpose of the NGO Coalition is to contribute to the creation of a culture of prevention of child abuse and form a global partnership network to raise awareness, mobilise public opinion and action, and disseminate prevention programs.

To join the Coalition, members commit to mark the Day with local and national events and activities; mention the Day in their publications and on their web sites; distribute posters, educational programs and information; create partnerships with local organisations working for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, alert the press and radio stations, inform local authorities of the existence of the Day and planned activities, and lobby governments for official proclamation of the Day as a National Day.

In 2001, the international NGO coalition united 149 organizations in more than 60 countries. Each one marked the Day with either local or national activities and events. The different activities are compiled in a published impact report. To view the report, click here (ACROBAT).

We encourage international and national organizations to join and support the Coalition. There is no membership fee to join.

What people say about the Day

Extracts from messages:

Kofi Anan, United Nations Secretary General, " ... would have liked to participate in this important event which will focus on the prevention of child abuse and the rights of the child. He welcomes your advocacy on behalf of the world's children... ". (2001)

Dr. Juan Miguel, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography " ... It is largely thanks to the work of NGOs that the issue of child abuse is now on the international agenda... We must continue the fight in order to ensure that this concern results in concrete changes... On this day of commitment and reflection... I invite you to continue to provide me with information, which will enable me to carry out my mandate, and intervene to help children... "

" ... Unicef supports all initiatives that sensitize public opinion and civil society and supports prevention programs as well as the reintegration of survivors into their families, schools and society... Unicef thanks WWSF once more for its commitment to promoting protection of abuse and rights of the child programs..."

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we need a World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse?

Every year over 1 million children are pulled into the sex trade. Almost daily we hear of new child abuses, and even employees of respected international institutions have been found to be involved in sexual abuse. It is clear that an intelligent and effective approach to this problem consists in increasing prevention measures and protective skills, raising public awareness and encourageing denunciation of abuse.

What difference does the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse make?

In 2001, 150 NGOs joined an international coalition to mark the Day with public awareness campaigns and prevention education. More than 100 organizations sent reports of local and national events organized on 19 November. They are part of an emerging movement for the creation of a culture of prevention. The Republic of Costa Rica is the first country that declared by Presidential Decree 19 November a National Day.

Geneva Event 2001

Press Release on the occasion of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

The Women's World Summit Foundation WWSF launched the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse on 19 November 2000 (a date to create a synergy with the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child) in response to an unacceptable announcement in a respected Swiss daily paper of a pedophile network having created an international day for pedophilia. Sexual abuse and exploitation of children and youth being a universal and complex problem which defies both simplistic analysis and easy answers, the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse aims above all to create a culture of prevention around the world.

At its launching message and inauguration in 2000, WWSF disseminated Dr. Sherryll Kraizer's educational program "Protecting Children from Abuse". This public briefing has circulated the world and has been translated into many national and local languages and is now used in many schools. It seems to fill a need for parents to give their children basic skills to fight off sexual aggressors. However, such programs alone are not an absolute guarantee against child abuse and increased prevention information and education is needed to reinforce the promotion of existing programs, improve circulation of information, and create new strategies for action.

Nevertheless, efforts to speed up prevention do come up against difficulties, e.g. the world scale of the problem, the vulnerability of children, the lack of political will to address this issue on a regular basis, the power of vested interests, including financial interest, etc.

The issue of child abuse is too complex to be addressed from a single perspective. No one group has the expertise to address all the issues of children who have been abused. Inter-sectoral and integrated approaches as well as joint actions and networks that maintain a broad ranging perspective are necessary.

In the face of such challenges and to increase cooperation, experience sharing and resource dissemination, WWSF launched in 2001 an international NGO coalition for the dignity of children. The NGO coalition, keystone of the World Day campaign, brought together 149 NGOs from 60 countries that committed to mark the Day with significant local or national activities and events.

Encouraged by civil society's response in recognition of the necessity for such a World Day, and stressing that more about abuse prevention and protection needs to be done, WWSF is reinforced in its commitment to continue with the annual campaign and disseminate innovative approaches and information on Internet to the benefit of coalition members and the NGO child rights community in general.

In Geneva, several events marked the commemoration of the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

A public demonstration in front of the United Nations

The official remittance of the "Petition Fusterie" to UNICEF demanding urgent intervention by the UN, governments and the media in order to ensure urgent implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Petition was launched in the year 2000 and generated 17,000 signatures from around the world.

A press conference, followed by a public debate. Elly Pradervand succeeded in bringing together a large number of personalities from diverse backgrounds that agreed to address the media on the World Day and underlined the importance of prevention measures and efficient protection skills against child abuse. Interventions also included the urgent need to adequately finance prevention programs as a society can be evaluated by the way it treats its children

A commemoration at the Temple de la Fusterie in the evening with speakers and music to close the Day.