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Open Letter 2007 to more than 780 WWSF Coalition Members and Partners
(Governmental, non-governmental, grassroots organizations and groups in 128 countries)
Dear Members, Partners, Friends,
We thank you for registering as an active or supportive coalition member in this
year's global campaign for prevention of child abuse and violence against children.
WWSF acknowledges not only the progress achieved in making prevention of
child abuse a priority over the last 8 years, but also the commitment of so many
dedicated actors and partners: many among the 710 organizations from 119
countries that marked and/or supported the Day last year sent us reports of
activities and events, focusing on either physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse,
neglect and violence. Global impact reports are published on our web site
However, despite all our collective efforts child abuse and violence against children
are on the rise and manifest in new ways.
Today, the issue of media violence deserves high attention considering the
importance of the damage done to millions of children who are exposed to it on
a daily basis. It is for this reason that we chose to focus this year on protecting
children from media violence with recommendations for activities to alert your
members, civil society as a whole, governments as well as the media to center
efforts to reduce child exposure to violence in the mass media.
You are however free to organize events that you feel need prioritizing in your
countries and we wish you great success with your 2007 programs and hope
that our Call to Action mentioned below is helpful in planning your campaign
Laure Maitrejean, Global program co-ordinator - WWSF Children's Section
Call to Action . Call to Action . Call to Action
1- Protect children from media violence: reduce exposure and promote the Rights of the Child
The media is, without a doubt, a highly significant aspect of contemporary
children's lives. It constitutes their most significant leisure-time pursuit by far. Over
the last quarter-century, violence in television programs, video games and other
entertainment products for children has gradually increased. After decades of
debates, there is now a general consensus that media violence is a risk factor that
contributes to the development of aggressive behavior, fears and anxieties.
"Media" includes the whole range of modern communications: television, the
cinema, video, radio, photography, advertising, newspapers and magazines, recorded
music, computer games, the Internet, etc.
Convention on the Rights of the Child:
Article 17 identifies specific responsibilities for the media and states: "States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health."
Request the media to:
- Ensure that the best interests of the child are not compromised
- Create awareness of the ways in which children are portrayed in the media and encourage an ethical reporting culture which respects children and their rights
- Avoid the use of stereotypes and sensational presentations in promoting journalistic materials involving children
- Discontinue the use of sexualized images of children
- Further the development of a human rights culture through
training and advocacy initiatives.
Educate your members & your constituency to:
- Protect and equip children against the dangers of the media:
prepare them to understand the media culture that surrounds
them; have a say in the media consumption of children and young
- Make children and the general public more aware of the responsibilities of
the media in their practices and functions
- Remind media professionals of their ethical responsibility and the need to
respect the standards set by their profession
- Call to re-examine the government's role in media regulation.
Media education becomes more and more crucial. Each actor (teacher, parent,
caregiver, journalist, producer and broadcaster) must be made sensitive to the
needs of young people and to the Rights of the Child.
Lobby your Government to:
- Forbid the use of violence as a normal way to solve conflicts in TV programs
- Forbid airing of violent movies on TV before 10 PM
- Forbid the marketing to children of products that are considered
inappropriate for them according to ratings
- Forbid the sale to children of movie tickets, music recordings and
video games that are suitable only for adults
- Forbid the sale of violent video games to children.
Increased legislation is the most efficient way for reducing the
marketing of violent entertainment to children.
Internet use - suggestions to parents / caregivers
- Ask your children to show you what they do in cyberspace
- Get to know sites your children visit
- Place the computer in a central location (not in children's bedrooms)
- Implement safeguards (filtering software) to block access to adult-orientated sites and limit access to special sites for children
- Educate your child to follow guidelines when surfing the Net*:
1. Be careful - you don't know who is behind the screen!
2. Never tell anyone your name or age!
3. Never tell anyone your password!
4. Be careful when you "chat"!
5. Never tell anyone your address or where you live!
6. Do not send your photo to anyone!
7. Never arrange to meet someone without telling one of your parents!
8. Don't believe everything people tell you!
9. Never reply to e-mails which shock you!
10. If what you see on the screen upsets you, leave the website or call one of your
parents. * Source: www.actioninnocence.org (10 commandments
for a young
WWSF contribution: TV Spots
WWSF produced in 2007 a public service announcement (for television, Internet and movie theatre viewing) to alert and
mobilize civil society for better prevention of abuse and violence against children. TV spots are available in English and French on the
WWSF website www.woman.ch. CD's can be obtained from WWSF for a cost of US$ 20 per copy.
TV spot message:
"19 November is World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse.
But one day is not enough.
Every day, all together, let us unite for better prevention."
2- Participate, observe, promote, and support the World Day - 19 November
For those who are new to the World Day coalition, we reiterate that there are
many ways organizations can support the annual campaign (conferences,
workshops, educational and cultural programs, art competitions in
schools, churches, on television and the Internet, among others).
Organize joint activities with other organizations and groups
- Invite children and young people to participate and become the
real actors of the Day
- Increase and disseminate education programs on abuse
prevention and protection skills
- Adopt a Code of Conduct and Child Protection Policy for all staff,
interns, volunteers and other individuals working with children
- Reinforce collaboration with your Government, local political and
religious leaders, your Mayor and social institutions
- Lobby your Government to proclaim a National Day for Prevention of
Child Abuse - 19 November
- Remind your Head of State and Government of the promises made to the
children at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children (2002)
- Promote, distribute and use the yellow sticker "YES to prevention of child
abuse!" in your campaign
- Inform the media about the World Day and invite them to report on
your local/national activities and events
- Engage your religious leaders and faith-based organizations to mark
the Day and join the campaign to prevent child abuse and violence
- Share pertinent information with the UN Special Rapporteur
on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
- Study and share the new Council of Europe Convention on the
Protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse wcd.coe.int
3- Share and promote the UN SG's Study on Violence against Children - Help implement its recommendations
The Study was a global effort to paint a detailed picture of the nature, extent
and causes of violence against children, and to propose clear recommendations
for action to prevent and respond to it. The Study marks the first time that the
reality of violence against children around the world has been documented,
and global recommendations made to stop it. Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro,
the Independent Expert who led the Study, presented the final Report to the
UN General Assembly (New York, October 2006). In addition, a more in depth
publication of the Study was presented in Geneva, which contains more details,
case studies, and best practice examples including child-friendly materials (age
12-18). Title: "Our Right to be Protected from Violence". Materials for younger
children (under 10 years) "Safe You and Safe Me" have also been published. For
The core message of the Study is that no violence against children is justifiable. All violence against children is preventable. There can be no compromise. Therefore,
member states, all sectors of society and all individuals must commit themselves to ensure protection from all forms of abuse and violence against children.
Actions that all States must take to prevent violence against children and to respond to it
effectively if it occurs:
- Strengthen national and local commitment and action
- Prohibit all violence against children
- Prioritize prevention
- Promote non-violent values and awareness-raising
- Enhance the capacity of all who work with and for children
- Provide recovery and social reintegration services
- Ensure the participation of children
- Create accessible and child-friendly reporting systems and services
- Ensure accountability and end impunity
- Address the gender dimension of violence against children
- Develop and implement systematic national data collection and research
- Strengthen international commitment
Call for the appointment of a Special Representative to the Secretary-
General on violence against children
The NGO Advisory Council for follow up to the UN Study issued a call for action
requesting organizations around the world to sign up to the statement supporting the
appointment of a Special Representative to the Secretary-General on violence against
children. The goal is to have at least 1000 organizations endorse the statement by
September 15, 2007, representing all countries in the world. The statement will then be
presented at the UN during the General Assembly to demonstrate the strength of NGO
support for a Special Representative. If your organization has not yet signed on, please do
so right away. Sign the petition and see the full list of signatories:
The Independent Expert has prioritized for 2007 the
following five overarching recommendations and requests
partners to provide information on substantial lines of action that
have been taken to follow up on the Study:
- Integration in national planning processes of measures to
prevent and respond to violence against children, including the
appointment of a focal point to foster the implementation of
- Strengthening of legal frameworks in conformity with the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly galvanizing
support for the prohibition of all forms of violence
- Prevention of violence
- Promotion of the participation of children and structures to
- Strengthening of data collection and research
Widely disseminate the Study findings, recommendations and
- Identify and disseminate proven and promising practices - with
particular attention to sharing these and promoting scaling up
- Strengthen networks and information sharing
Prof. Pinheiro will also continue discussion with UN member
states and all other relevant partners to define a feasible medium
term follow up framework which considers actions at national,
regional, and international levels.
WWSF contribution: Manifesto 2007
WWSF supports the full implementation of the Study's recommendations and commits to annually raise awareness, lobby
Governments to urgently commit to end
all forms of abuse and violence against children and to establish national protection systems that include the elimination of violence as a
A Call to make prevention of abuse & violence against children a priority.
Because the year 2007 must be a new beginning with the adoption of the General Assembly Resolution of the UN
Study on violence against children
Because a culture of prevention is needed to help implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Because prevention demands of each and every one of us to take a stand and become an active agent for change
for the creation of a world fit for children
Because we are aware of our share of responsibility, we pledge in our daily lives, families, places of work,
communities, countries and regions, to
Prioritize prevention by
- Prohibiting abuse and violence against children in all its forms (physical, sexual, emotional and neglect)
- Strengthening international, national and local commitment and action
- Raising awareness that violence against children is a violation of children's rights and encouraging citizens to challenge it
- Promoting non-violent values and good examples of prevention programs (WWSF Clearinghouse)
- Participating with local activities and events marking the annual World Day for prevention of child abuse 19
- Sharing effective measures for preventing child abuse and combating violence through legislation and national
action plans for the UN Study recommendations to be successful
- Reminding States regularly of the overarching UN Study recommendations and urging them to demonstrate
political will by providing adequate resources to deliver concrete results
WWSF Children's Section 2006 Activity Report
WWSF Prize for prevention of child abuse - Four 2006 Laureate org anizations
WWSF received many interesting applications that made the selection very difficult. For this reason, two first prizes were awarded. Below are the names of the four
laureate organizations that received the prize for their innovative prevention activities (description of their work and programs are published on Internet
Two First Prizes (US$ 3000 each)
- Tulir Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse - Tulir CPHCSA, India
- Queen Rania Family & Child Center at Jordan River Foundation, Jordan
Two additional awards (US$ 500 each)
- Association Najdeh, Lebanon
- Cercle de Réflexion et d'Action pour Christ - CRAC, Togo
Geneva's one week activities, 18-23 November
Conference-Debate and Award Ceremony
In Geneva, WWSF HQ, the World Day was commemorated at the International Conference Centre
with a Conference-Debate "Progress in preventing child abuse - Annual Review 5th edition". Theme:
"How to parent well in the modern media age". Nine panelists shared their insights on this burning
subject. The conference was followed by the third annual Prize ceremony awarding the WWSF Prize
for prevention of child abuse that honors innovative activities, and by a reception celebrating the
laureate organization, especially Ms. Vidya Reddy, President of Tulir CPHCSA, who came from India to
receive her award in Geneva. She presented commendable work done by her organization on the
World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse in Chennai.
Appeal to churches / Workshops / Information stand
Because 19 November 2006 fell on a Sunday, WWSF invited religious leaders and faith-based
organizations to speak of the World Day in their respective religious services. An information stand
was organized on a busy shopping street in Geneva, sharing prevention programs and the yellow
sticker "YES to prevention of Child Abuse!". In addition, three workshops were organized at WWSF
headquarters presenting different approaches of prevention of abuse and violence against children
(For more information
Recent messages of support
"Child abuse is a global problem - one that has no respect for boundaries
of geography, culture, or creed. Every year, tens of thousands of children are
murdered and millions more are brutalized, often by the very people who
should love them most, and on whom their survival depends. Too often, the
suffering of these innocent victims goes unnoticed and unaddressed, hidden
behind closed curtains and doors of secrecy, silence and shame. That is why
this World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse is so important. By raising
awareness, we can help stop child abuse and neglect before they start."
- Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan, (2006)
"[...] We have to recognize the work done by WWSF (Women's World Summit Foundation), an
NGO we need to respect for its commitment for global prevention, for catalyzing innovative
programs for prevention of child abuse thanks to its annual 4 Prize awards, and for making 19
November "The World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse".I take pleasure in encouraging
everyone among us to support its activities."
- Jean Zermatten,
Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child,
Director of the International Institute for the Rights of the Child IDE (2007)
World Day campaign information
WWSF annually prints 10'000 Calls to Action, posters and relevant information (4 languages) which are
mailed to all active and supportive coalition members. In addition, each year, WWSF publishes a global
activity report of coalition members programs and events. .All documents are available on Internet.
Definition: Child abuse includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as neglect, violence and
exploitation of a child.
Convention on the Rights of the Child (www.unicef.org/crc/)
Article 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.
Article 35: States Parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent
the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form.
Use of World Day logo: Reproduction of the 19 November logo for information sharing is permitted
provided that the name of the global convener WWSF is mentioned (without any modification).
Reproduction of the 19 November logo for fundraising purposes requires written permission from WWSF.
WWSF declines all responsibility for legal, financial, administrative or moral liabilities, which may result from
events organized by coalition members and other actors on the World Day.
Facts & Figures (UN sources)
- 40 million children suffer from abuse and neglect.
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 9 boys will be sexually abused
before the age of 18.
- Approx. 2 million children are used in the sex
industry each year.
- More than 1 million images of tens of thousands of
sexually abused children are posted on Internet.
- Victims of child sex abuse are at greater risk of being
involved in commercial sexual exploitation as a
means to survive.
- In 184 countries, over 50% have no laws addressing
child pornography. In 138 countries, possession of
child pornography is not a crime.
- Between 60 million and 100 million girls are 'missing'
from the world's population. They are victims of
gender based infanticide, malnutrition, and neglect.
- 3 million girls are subject to Female Genital
Mutilation each year.
- Some 180 million children work in the worst forms
of child labour.
- Over 120 million children will never go to school. 6
out of 10 are girls.
- 300'000 children work as soldiers, transporters, and
mine detectors, among other violations.
Sponsor acknowledgement: WWSF is most grateful for support received in 2007 from the OAK
Foundation, the Principality of Liechtenstein Foreign Affairs, City of Geneva, Vivre Autrement, Office Fédéral
des Assurances Sociales OFAS (CH), Geneva Commune Plan-les-Ouates, Loterie Romande, Point Prod,
among others for their financial support towards the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse campaign,
Prize award program and TV spots.
Presentation of overall WWSF programs
Message from the Executive Director
I am delighted to send my warm greetings and best wishes to all 2007 active and
supporting coalition members that registered to mark the World Day on 19
November. For the past 8 years, WWSF has built up a global partnership
network of governmental and non-governmental organizations, grassroots groups
and institutions of all sorts to help build a culture of prevention of abuse and
violence against children. When we think of the sheer numbers of children being
abused and exploited around the world on a daily basis, our mission can seem
Yet from the start, WWSF has recognized that PREVENTION needs to be the
hallmark of reducing abuse and violence. WWSF Board Directors are
empowered by the many examples of best practices of local and national
programs and join me in honoring you for your commitment and participation in
creating a world fit for children and respecting children's rights. I salute you and
congratulate you on your contributions to use the World Day as an effective
focal point for better prevention of abuse and violence against children.
WWSF Founder / Executive Director
Created in 1991 in Geneva, Switzerland, in response to the urgent call for action launched at the first UN World Summit for Children (New York, 1990), WWSF
(Women's World Summit Foundation) serves as an international, non-profit, humanitarian NGO and benefits from its UN consultative status (ECOSOC, UNFPA and DPI).
WWSF is totally independent of any religious, political or philosophical affiliation.
As an international empowerment network, WWSF is dedicated to help implement women's and children's rights and the UN Millennium Development Goals through its
annual initiatives, world day campaigns, and prize awards. It provides international visibility, recognition and support for women's development projects and for innovative
child abuse prevention programs.
Women's and children's rights being intimately related, WWSF intervenes on the international scene via several activities and programs (four languages), which are divided
into two sections :
World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse - 19 November
Annual global awareness campaign to create a culture of prevention of child abuse
Created in 2000 and commemorated every 19 November (in synergy with the Anniversary of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child). An international partner coalition was launched in 2001 with
the aim of increasing existing programs and developing new prevention measures. The coalition unites
over 700 governmental and nongovernmental organizations in more than 100 countries, all of which
mark 19 November with local and national activities and events. WWSF publications include annual
Calls to Action, global posters, Open Letters to coalition members and to influential community and
religious leaders, Newsletters and E-news, as well as global impact reports and campaign fliers.
WWSF Prize for prevention of child abuse
Awarding innovative prevention activities
Created in 2003, the principal mission of the Prize is to award innovative activities in the field of
prevention of child abuse and to encourage continuous efforts by NGOs in developing effective
prevention measures and catalyzing new energies. Laureate organizations are selected among active
WWSF coalition members that mark the World Day - 19 November. Four prizes are annually
awarded (so far 12 prizes - US$ 5000 p. year).
WWSF International Clearinghouse
For prevention of child abuse and violence against children
A database of Internet links to prevention programs so that good practices and innovative measures
may be shared among child rights organizations and relevant institutions and groups. By sharing
information through this clearinghouse, each organization contributes to the creation of a culture of
prevention of child abuse and violence against children. As of March 2007, 40 programs are published
on the Internet: www.woman.ch
WWSF Sticker campaign "YES to prevention of child abuse !"
Order your yellow ribbon sticker and take a stand
Place the sticker on your door, computer or any other visible site as a symbol of your stand for
prevention of child abuse and for the protection from potential offenders.
WWSF Prize for Women's Creativity in Rural Life
By honoring a woman we honor a whole nation
Created in 1994, 331 prize-winners in over 100 countries have so far been awarded.
World Rural Women's Day - 15 October
A focal point for rural women
An annual global awareness campaign to increase knowledge and empowerment. Open Letters and Calls to Action generate hundreds of local and national activities and events.
Mali Micro Credit Sheep Project
A different way of making gifts & empower economic development
Sponsoring sheep for rural women to raise and sell with a profit.
World Day for Circles of compassion - 2 November
To help implement the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
A new dialogue to inspire compassionate solutions to community and world problems.