Combating all forms of violence against children is one of the main objectives of the Council of Europe’s “Building a Europe for and with children” programme. Social tolerance of certain forms of violence – for example, corporal punishment – or the silence surrounding sexual abuse of children are major challenges which must be taken up in the fight against violence. Exposing children to one form of violence increases their vulnerability to other forms of violent behaviours. Effective prevention of and reaction to violence, as well as effective safeguarding of the rights of the child, therefore call for a strategic and multidisciplinary approach.

The Council of Europe Policy Guidelines on Integrated National Strategies for the Protection of Children from Violence aim to be a source of inspiration for states striving to adopt a holistic approach to violence against children and to guarantee their children a childhood free from violence. The guidelines contain detailed proposals on how to develop an integrated national strategy on the rights of the child and the eradication of violence against children. The strategy is defined as a multidisciplinary and systematic framework integrated into the national planning process, rooted in the UNCRC and bringing together all stakeholders.

The guidelines are based on the recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children, as well as on a comprehensive review of national policies in four Council of Europe member states (Italy, Norway, Portugal and Romania), resulting in a proposal for a model strategy against violence.