Home Emergencies: preparadness and response Injury prevention Child protection HIV and AIDS Malaria Hygiene Coughs, colds and more serious illnesses Diarrhoea Immunization Nutrition and growth Breastfeeding Child development and early learning Safe motherhood and newborn health Timing births

The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust



Follow MotherChild on Twitter  Connect with MotherChild on Facebook  Subscribe to HealthPhone on YouTube
Facts for Life

Child protection

Supporting Information


Justice for children should be based on child rights. Depriving children of their liberty (incarcerating them) must always be a last resort. Procedures that are sensitive to children should be put in place for children who are victims or witnesses of crime.

Why it is important - All key messages - Resources

Placing children who have committed crimes or have been accused of committing crimes in a detention centre, prison or reform school or any other closed setting should always be a last resort. Detention can be detrimental to children's development and make reintegration into society more difficult.

Alternatives such as mediation, community service and counselling produce better results for children and their families and communities. Such alternatives are generally more respectful of children's rights and help children learn how to take on a more constructive role in society. This should be the objective of all justice interventions concerning children.

The majority of children in detention have not committed a serious offence. They are often detained for dropping out of school, running away from home, using alcohol, begging or vagrancy. Some children are in detention because they have been exploited by adults through prostitution or drug dealing.

Children can remain in detention for months or years awaiting review of their case. These children are at higher risk of violence and exposure to drugs, HIV infection and other health problems. Detention can interrupt their schooling and distance them from family. Children in detention generally need a social protection response, not a judicial one.

Children who are in detention should:

  • be separated from adult offenders
  • have their cases addressed within a short time frame
  • be separated by gender
  • have appropriate means to report violence committed against them while in detention.

Pregnant women and mothers with children in detention need special protection, care and support. All children in these circumstances are entitled to protection of their rights, such as access to health care and education.

Child-sensitive procedures for boys and girls should be put in place for child victims and witnesses of crime. Such procedures should:

  • prevent contact between the child and the alleged perpetrator (the person who is accused of committing the crime)
  • allow for the child's full participation in the justice process
  • ensure that the child is treated with dignity and compassion.

Foreword  •  Purpose  •  Structure  •  Essential Messages  •  Guide for Using Facts for Life   •  Glossary  •  Contact

The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust
a U.S. 501(c)(3) non profit organization
our portals and sites
HealthPhone™ Mobile Apps
Guide to Child Care
Community Video
Kyunki-Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai
Rehydration Project
Successful Breastfeeding
Disaster Relief
Community Radio
AIDS action
Polio Free
Health Education to Villages
Breast Crawl
Education for Girls
A Simple Solution
Diarrhoea: 7 Point Plan
HIV and Breastfeeding
Rights of the Child
Mother and Child Nutrition
Mother and Child Health
Facts for Life
Education for Boys
Child Protector
Ebola Resources