Child Protection

Every child has the right to be safe

Save the Children works to prevent all forms of violence, abuse and neglect towards children. We help make and keep children safe, whether they are refugees, migrants, live in institutions or other forms of alternative care, are exploited, even within their own communities and homes.

Girls and boys in every country of the world face abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence. Every five minutes a child dies as a result of violence. Up to 1.5 billion children experience violence annually, over 1 billion children live in countries or territories affected by armed conflict and 33 million children are on the move. Three out of four children experience violent discipline at home, 1 in 5 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 are currently married, and 85 million children are involved in harmful work.

To protect children, we work with governments, international organizations, and local community partners to implement progressive laws and policies, change detrimental social and cultural practices, and improve the capacity of communities to protect children.

An important part of Save the Children’s child protection work is the participation and leadership of the children themselves. We actively support child clubs and other child-led activities that empower and educate children to keep themselves safe and defend their rights.

What We Do

  • Listen to and work with boys and girls to improve their lives and safety
  • Work with schools to make them safe and free of violence
  • Protect children during emergencies
  • Operate Child Friendly Spaces where boys and girls can socialize, play and receive psychosocial support to help them cope during emergencies
  • Reunify separated and unaccompanied children with their families in emergencies
  • Provide training to social workers to enable them to provide supportive care to families and children
  • Advocate for more effective national protection policies and child welfare reform within strengthened child protection systems
  • Develop public awareness campaigns to stop child abuse and exploitation
  • Address social norms that perpetuate violence against children by engaging through constructive dialogue with boys and girls, parents and community leaders

In 2014, Save the Children reached more than 2.1 million children around the world through our targeted child protection initiatives.

Save the Children’s vision of protection is the fulfilment of every child’s equal right to be safe from harm (violence, abuse, exploitation, and neglect) allowing them to survive and thrive, and to have opportunities to learn, participate, play, and develop into empowered citizens. In this vision child protection is situated on a continuum – moving from the minimum goal of protection from harm (addressing critical vulnerabilities) towards the full participation of children as engaged political, social and economic actors, and young leaders (maximizing a child’s potentialities). Education plays an important role in this continuum in helping children develop, engage meaningfully, build resilience, and reach their potential. Participation is both a goal and means for protection; through increased participation, children build their capacities for self protection and resilience.

Impact Stories

Read Dorty’s Story: Dorty is helping break the cycle of violence for herself and her whole community.

VIDEO: Child Protection

Video: Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children


Read Save the Children’s 2016-18 Global Thematic Plan

Read Save the Children’s Education and Protection Strategy