The French Plan to Combat Child Abuse 2017-2019

June 6th, 2017

Following recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child to France in January 2016 and facing some disheartening statistics, France has decided to take action.

On the 1st of March 2017, the French Minister for Families, Child Welfare and Women’s Rights presented

the inter-ministerial action plan for mobilising and combatting child abuse. This plan was conceived over three years (from 2017-2019) and aims to “rise awareness and spread solutions to diminish all forms of abuse within the family structure (physical, psychological, sexual or negligence).”

The action plan is based upon four axes, aiming to:

  • Improve knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms of abuse, by optimising statistics on the child abuse and by updating the database annually. Many government agencies will be involved. The data collected will help flesh out scientific research, in order to deepen knowledge of the problem and to produce adapted solutions.
  • Raise awareness and prevent abuse; since April 2016, a booklet has been distributed to new parents on various themes, including non-violent education. This booklet will be followed by information intended for parents of children between the ages of 12 and 14. Particular attention wil be paid to the topics of sexual abuse and Shaken Baby Syndrome.
  • Educate in order to better identify; professionals in direct contact with children will be trained to detect abuse and about the impact of domestic violence on children.
  • Accompany victims of child abuse by reinforcing existing tools, such as toll-free numbers, and by developing hearing support units for children who have been victims of abuse, as well as educating professionals and devising a specific national protocol to give children a voice.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC/C/CHE/CO/2-4) made roughly the same recommendations to Switzerland in February 2015: develop a comprehensive strategy for prevention and intervention in cases of ill-treatment, abuse and neglect of children and domestic violence against them” starting with concrete knowledge of the problem, based on national statistics, and by updating scientific research annually.

“According to a study led by the association « La Voix de l’enfant » during the period March-September 2016, it is estimated that two to three children die every week as the result of abuse. However, abuse on children, while regarding all backgrounds, lacks official statistics.”

Photo: Harvey K, flickr/creative commons

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