Working Group on Children and Violence
Imprisonment of one or both of a child’s parents can result in serious and enduring negative effects for the child, including social exclusion, greater financial difficulties, and what can be perceived as abandonment and rejection, particularly when family members and carers conceal the truth of the parent’s whereabouts. It can lead to worse behaviour and achievement in school, and affect the child’s mental and physical health.
Children who have had little contact with the imprisoned parent may find their lives are largely unchanged, while some may benefit from being separated from parents who behave dangerously or disturbingly. Every child is different and will cope differently, but the effects on children, good or bad, are rarely taken into account in criminal justice processes.
The failure to consider or consult children of imprisoned parents at all stages of the criminal justice process – from arrest, to trial, to imprisonment, to release, to rehabilitation into the community – can result in their rights, needs and best interests being overlooked or actively damaged.
The Working Group on Children and Violence
The Working Group on Children and Violence aims to promote action that will prompt violence prevention strategies and protect children who are vulnerable. In particular, the Working Group focuses on the framework provided by the UN CRC and works towards the implementation of this instrument as a legal obligation for governments and as a core protection tool for children.
The WG aims to (1) speak with one voice and work together alongside UN Human Rights mechanisms and UN agencies based in Geneva which are pertinent to the theme of violence against children; (2) act as Geneva focal point for advancing the Post 2015 Global Sustainable Development VAC related goals and targets, to ensure the continuous implementation of the recommendations put forward in the UN Study on VAC, notably by means of advocacy towards key players in Geneva (the UN, permanent missions and regional institutions) in collaboration with civil society organizations and networks; and (3) continue to maintain strong links with, and provide collaborative support to the SRSG/VAC and the CRC.