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World Day for Prevention
of Child Abuse - 19 November ©


2009 :     Geneva report  
2008 :     Geneva report      (Global report in preparation)
2007 :     Geneva report     Global report  
2006 :     Geneva report     Global report     Photo Gallery
2005 :     Geneva report     Global report     Photo Gallery
2004 :     Geneva report     Global report     Photo Gallery
2003 :     Geneva report     Global report     Photo Gallery
2002 :     Geneva report     Global report     Photo Gallery
2001 :     Geneva report     Global report     Photo Gallery


Geneva Report 2005

Conference/Debate "Progress in preventing child abuse - Annual Review IV"


Geneva, 18 November 2005, Palais Wilson - Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “We are convinced that everyone of us, individually or as a group, must regularly remind governments, the media and civil society at large, that more needs to be done to guarantee better protection of all forms of child abuse and violence and that more resources are needed for the promotion of good prevention examples”, says Mrs. Elly Pradervand, WWSF Executive Director. Launched in 2000 by WWSF and commemorated this year by more than 630 WWSF coalition member organizations in 115 countries, the World Day for prevention of child abuse was marked in Geneva for the sixth consecutive year by a Conference-Debate « Progress in

preventing child abuse – annual review IV », and for the second year by a Prize ceremony awarding the WWSF Betty Makoni Prize for innovative prevention activities. The event was not only an occasion for Mrs. Sue Meier, Executive Director of the Laureate organization winning the first Prize to present the activities of her organization, the International Child Abuse Network – Yes ICAN (USA), but also for experts in Switzerland and Europe to present different prevention programs in the field of public education, campaigns, theatre, counselling groups, etc. About 100 participants attended the event, followed by a reception offered by WWSF.

Opening speeches

Message from Mrs. Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented by Mrs. Jane Connors, Senior Human Rights Officer – Geneva, Switzerland
The High Commissioner for Human Rights requested Mrs. Connors to highlight her attachment to the cause taken up by WWSF and reaffirmed her support for all approaches that help eliminate violence against children. She also wished to recall that her office supports the Committee on the Rights of the Child as well as the work by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Independent Expert of the UN Study on violence against children. Mrs. Connors, after providing an update on the Study on violence against children, stated that violence against children is never justified whether for disciplinary reasons or cultural traditions. “Children are not adults”, she


said. "This difference must result as a consequence in better protection in the law, in politics and in programs, as well as a more significant investment in prevention of violence against children". This year, during regional consultations and other meetings, children from all continents told Professor Pinheiro about the amount of violence that takes place on a daily basis in their homes, schools and other institutions and which abuses them physically and morally. They also told him how much the acceptance of child abuse by adults perturbs them. State parties have the responsibility to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children. However, the family also has a particular role to play preventing abuse and violence. This year, children have challenged Professor Pinheiro and other participants at various meetings to do something about the questions discussed which helped to realize that children can no longer wait to be 18 years old before their rights are respected and that action is needed today. No real change in their lives will take place if UN Member States don't respect their obligations. To conclude, Mrs. Connors congratulated WWSF, in the name of Mrs. Louise Arbour and Professor Pinheiro, for its work that contributes to making the ideal of the Rights of the Child a reality.

Mrs. Micheline Spoerri, Geneva State Counsellor and President of the Department of Justice, Police and Security – Geneva, Switzerland– Geneva, Switzerland
After thanking the Women’s World Summit Foundation for its initiatives, Mrs. Spoerri underlined that as Head of the Department of Justice, Police and Security for the past four years, she was confronted every day with the hard reality faced by many people. She shared that in Geneva it can happen that children are locked up, unable to leave the house, not even allowed to go to school, and such situations can last for many years.


"Because it happens mostly in the secret and confined environment of the family, we need to capture the signs of such hidden suffering caused by the family. To get there, we have to have an overall approach to connect all competent and motivated actors to work together", she said. In this spirit, Geneva will adopt a law for the defence of victims of domestic violence. "Obviously, one law does not and cannot do everything", she added, "Education is also a very important part". Mrs. Spoerri continued to state that in her capacity as Minister of Justice and Police, prevention also involves deterring repression of severe abuse that will is combated with energy and rooted in the law. "We are all partners, we are all responsible. It is in our interest to create effective bridges between institutions and above all it is necessary to have the courage to speak about abuse and to give the child a chance to be heard". Mrs. Spoerri also shared information on activities of State services in Geneva, emphasizing the work done by the police, juvenile brigade, the information technology criminal brigade, the police psychological service, the youth health service, the youth protection service, the child supervising activities, as well as associations working with children. More recently, a partnership was initiated with Action Innocence Genève. To conclude, Mrs. Spoerri acknowledged WWSF for its hard work and reminded the audience that child abuse is not a result of our current society, but has always existed. It was a taboo that now has been broken thanks to the work of many.


Message from Mrs. Leïla Ben Ali, First Lady of Tunisia, delivered by Mrs. Saloua Ayachi Labben, State Minister of Women, Family, Children and the Elderly Affairs – Tunisia
After saluting the WWSF initiative which is “dedicated to raise awareness concerning the situation of children and issues pertaining to their rights, survival, increase of abuse and protection”, Mrs. Ben Ali emphasized Tunisia’s accomplishments in this domain. Thus, a certain number of results have been achieved via a range of development programs put in place by the State: social, educational and sanitary prevention regulation measures, and protection programs against all forms of prejudice and physical and moral abuse. This commitment has been illustrated by the ratification of the Convention of the Rights of the Child

in 1991, the ratification of several international conventions concerning the protection of children, the promulgation of the Child Protection Code, in addition to the adoption of successive legislative reforms, reinforcing the rights of women and the family, and the establishment of a coherent system of mechanisms aimed at protecting children and promoting their rights, such as the creation of a corps of delegates in charge of children’s protection, and the establishment of an observatory for information, training, documentation and studies on the protection of children’s rights. Moreover, in addition to the establishment of a National Children’s Day, celebrated January 11 of each year, Tunisia devotes a whole month for the protection of children, starting on 19 November of each year, marking the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. This month is organized in cooperation with governmental and community structures, and other institutions and bodies concerned with children’s protection. Thus, Tunisia has taken initiatives aimed at enhancing the participation of children in public life, such as the creation of a “Children’s Parliament”, offering children the opportunity to express themselves on issues related to their lives and their educational and social environment, and initiating them into democracy. “We consider it a sacred duty for political leaders and for civil society components and institutions to step up efforts in order to protect children from abuse and face the dangers and challenges threatening them” concluded Mrs. Ben Ali in her message which was distributed to all participants in English, French and Arabic.

"WWSF Prize Betty Makoni" - Award Ceremony


The WWSF Executive Director briefly explained why the Prize was named after Betty Makoni (honouring a child rights activist in Zimbabwe), and presented the four laureate organizations selected for their innovative prevention activities in 2005:

• International Child Abuse Network – Yes ICAN, USA (US$ 3000)
• Asociación Afecto contra el maltrato infantil, Colombia (US$ 1000)
• Muhammadan Women Welfare Society, Pakistan and Youth Net and Counselling YONECO, Malawi (US$ 500 each).

Mrs. Sue Meier, Executive Director and Founder of the International Child Abuse Network – Yes ICAN, was invited by WWSF to Geneva to personally receive the first Prize for the innovative activities organized under her leadership in California on 19 November 2004 and 2005. Yes ICAN was especially selected for its intervention with elected government officials. Indeed, as of 2003, the Mayor of Los Angeles (James Hahn) proclaimed 19 November – World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse for the city’s residents. In 2004 and 2005, Yes ICAN received a new proclamation from the Mayor of Los Angeles, as well as the support of the Governor of California (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and the Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles, designating 19 November – World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse not only for Los Angeles but also for the State of California. In addition, Yes ICAN received letters of support from US Congress members Brad Sherman and Senator Boxer. This empowers Yes ICAN to now solicit the Federal Government.

A few words about Betty Makoni
Betty Makoni is a remarkable child rights advocate in Zimbabwe. Herself victim of abuse in her childhood, she used her experience to fight against all forms of child abuse and founded in 1998 the Girl Child Network which includes today hundreds of clubs and offers various training programs including prevention of child abuse to thousands of girls. Known as an outstanding community leader in her country, Betty has so far protected and rehabilitated more than 20'000 girls, victims of rape, early marriages, genital mutilation and other forms of sexual abuse. Naming the WWSF Prize after her, honours Betty Makoni’s exceptional commitment to child abuse prevention.

Report on the WWSF international coalition commemorating World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse

Ms. Linda Ros, Assistant Coordinator WWSF children’s section – Geneva, Switzerland
Ms. Linda Ros presented the campaign “World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse” as well as a few activities organized around the world by WWSF coalition members on 19 November. She insisted on the fact that each year, WWSF distributes a poster and an Open Letter in four languages addressed to members and partners of the coalition. In the Open Letter, WWSF communicates several calls to action that can be used locally and nationally by member organizations. This year, proposed themes included “Adopt a Code of Conduct and Child


Protection Policy” and “Use and promote the global yellow ribbon campaign: YES to prevention of child abuse!” Linda recalled that since the launch of this campaign, the coalition and participation continues to grow. From 140 organizations in 2001, the coalition grew to 630 members from 115 countries in 2005. Activities and organized events, increase and become more ambitious. A global impact reports as well as photographs show how important this Day is at the local, national and international level. Further, more and more political, judicial, religious and political authorities, and also an increasing number of children, young people, teachers, families, NGOs and professionals, participate to these activities, that are widely covered by the media. These activities are featured on Internet. (

Conference / Debate “Progress in preventing child abuse”


Dr Paul Bouvier, Youth Health Director– Geneva, Switzerland
Dr. Bouvier presented some of his child abuse prevention activities and in particular in relation to sexual abuse that his office developed in Geneva schools. He recalled that ten years ago no one mentioned sexual child abuse. The silence was practically total. A survey was carried out among 1200 students (aged 14), asking whether they have already been confronted with situations of abuse or lack of respect of their sexual integrity. One girl in three and one boy in 10 revealed that they have been victims of sexual abuse in general. Dr. Bouvier insisted on the variety of situations which explain the various response activities undertaken. Efforts started to focus on three levels of prevention activities: Primary prevention (avoid the occurrence of abuse);

Secondary prevention (detecting the situation as early as possible to give an adequate response); Tertiary education (treat and diminish the trauma and its consequences). The first effort was employed in tertiary prevention. Concerning secondary prevention, there is no active monitoring possible. It is more important to inform children and youth of their rights and about abuse and to listen to them. Teams of nurses and doctors work in schools, trying to strengthen the child’s capacity to protect her/himself and to favour resilience.
There is no guarantee for total prevention. A child can be abused in spite of prevention programs. The important issue is that the child is able to express the abuse and to receive an adequate response”, said Dr. Bouvier before mentioning several programs developed in schools. 1) Sexual education in all primary classes; 2) A program, entitled “Avec prudence, avec confiance” (with prudence, with confidence) for students aged 7 years is meant to protect children against risk situations and abuse and to strengthen their abilities and resilience; 3) A comic strip brochure, entitled “Emoi Et Toi”, used with students (14 years) which touches on the question of sexual abuse between adolescents of the same age in a relationship, and giving concrete examples allowing a reflection on the situation and on possible reactions to adopt; 4) A web site, entitled “Ciao” that gives youngsters the possibility to ask intimate questions to which they receive answers by professionals and guidance to appropriate services. Since the beginning of this work, 1200 cases of children at risk are denounced in Geneva every year. Over 15 years the number has increased, not because they have been tracked down, but because children are informed of their rights and competent personnel listens to them. According to Dr. Bouvier, we should strengthen the work on the rights of the child and on resilience, knowing that there is no absolute prevention, listen to children, and offer them pertinent activities, adopted to their age and to situations they find themselves in

Mrs. Andrea Burgener Woeffray, President Kinderschutz Switzerland – Bern, Switzerland
Mrs. Burgener Woeffray intervened on the theme “Elaboration of criteria for campaigns against sexual child abuse”, and presented a national three-year campaign launched in 2005 by her association with the objective to reduce and prevent sexual child abuse. “To create a campaign ‘No sexual child abuse’ is a challenge”, says Mrs. Burgener Woeffray before she presented her strategy approach which is to establish a Swiss Alliance against sexual child abuse. This alliance includes the national campaign of the Swiss Olympic


Association against sexual harassment in sports, the campaign of Cantonal Justice and Police authorities against pedo-criminality on Internet, and the campaign undertaken by Kinderschutz Switzerland. Their first common project is a Swiss information platform about sexual child abuse. Mrs. Burgener Woeffray insisted on the fact that communication about sexual child abuse is a complex issue for community activists: In most cases it touches on a taboo situation and is often dealt with in the family. Also, prevention measures do not receive much attention from the media. In addition, numerous studies have shown that prevention campaigns are often ineffective as they lack an impact evaluation process. The same studies give indications on what has impact and on results of prevention projects; interactive programs are generally effective; prevention has to start earlier; and best results are obtained when programs are integrated, i.e. conducted simultaneously in schools, in the family and in the community. Accordingly, Kinderschutz Switzerland will start in 2006 a campaign, entitled “My body belongs to me”, allowing children to be interactively familiarized with the topic. Simultaneously, parents, teachers and educators will also receive information on that subject.


Mr. George Glatz, Delegate to Prevention of child abuse section - Canton Vaud, Département des Institutions et des Relations Extérieures – Lausanne, Switzerland
Mr. Glatz intervened on the theme “Groupes de conseil” (Counselling groups). Created about 10 years ago under the name “Reference Groups”, they constitute a tool designed to help professionals working with children and confronted with complex abuse situations, difficult revelations and suspicion, touching on several sectors: judicial (civil and penal), medical and social. Established as a multidisciplinary group (a paediatrician, a child psychiatrist, a jurist and a social assistant or an educator for the Cantonal counselling group), it has as its mission to

evaluate all abuse situations which are submitted for orientation of and counselling to professionals for their intervention – primarily on legal obligations in the field of detection, but also on other aspects concerning coordination of actions by different group members. “When specialists represent different disciplines and consult each other in the same place, at the same time, and with respect for each other, such a group provides for an extraordinary competent service towards victims of abuse. This is the purpose of a Counselling group”, concluded Mr. Glatz.

Mrs. Christine Bussat, Mrs. Béatrice Geissbuhler and Mrs. Emmy Wicht – Marche Blanche Switzerland
The three Marche Blanche representatives intervened on the topic of citizen action against pedo-criminality. Created by parents in 2001, after a shocking report of unacceptable paedophilia on Internet, the Association has as its objective to raise public awareness on this still taboo subject. The


Association demands the following:

  1. A sufficient number of federal agents to fight against pedo-criminality on Internet and in the country;
  2. the obligation of institutions working with children to request a police register attestation; punishment according to the degree of crime;
  3. a grant to establish statistics revealing the reality of sexual crimes against children;
  4. the imprescriptibility of pornographic activities with children.

To reach these objectives, the Association undertakes several awareness raising activities: information stands; public walks every fall in several Swiss cities; prevention campaigns in cinemas, and brochures for students (5-18 years) and their parents. Added to this are citizen actions; parliamentary interventions; research on pedo-criminal practices in all Swiss public school departments, and a public federal initiative demanding imprescriptibility of pornographic child abuse.


Mrs. Sylvie Hervé, Author and comedian, Chimères – Nantes, France
Mrs. Hervé presented “Incan-Décence”, a puppet show of which she is the author and interpreter that focuses on the theme of sexual violence against minors. The play addresses adolescents and adults, as well as professionals and students in training. “We could call it a “pretext-play” to enhance speaking and the need for debate after the performance”, says Mrs. Hervé. The heart of the play is the focus on sexual violence and leads the public to reflect by taking a distance. It also allows going

beyond emotions that sexual crimes generate, and to better understand and objectively look at the manipulative and perverse mechanisms of aggressors. “Incan-Décence” portrays several characters (the fool, the clown and the eccentric who introduces the subject with laughing and irony, the little boy and the little girl “of whom we forgot the names”, two puppets symbolizing the victims; and the abuser, a threatening puppet adopting a very credible and smooth way of speaking), as well as 13 situations inspired by real cases and typical scenes. Information for prevention is the mission of “Incan-Décence”.

Mrs. Antonella Verdiani, Program Specialist - Education for peace and Human rights, UNESCO Paris, France
Mrs. Verdiani intervened on the theme of violence prevention in schools. She emphasized the fact that promotion of quality education is the best way to fight against it, under the condition that this education has a global approach and integrates the development of all aspects of the child: psychological, intellectual, physical and ethical. In order to do so, we have to come back to the true meaning of the word “educate”, meaning “to pull out” and also “to nurture”. Today, teachers, professors and instructors have lost their role of educators. What can be done to revive


this profession so that its noble cause enhances the “mission” more than the “function”? Moreover, how can we motivate children in a social context that is becoming more and more complex worldwide? Project examples realized under the protection of or by UNESCO were evoked during Mrs. Verdiani’s intervention.

Launch of WWSF Sticker Campaign - “YES to Prevention of Child Abuse!”

Ms. Mélanie Giovannoni, WWSF Women’s Section coordinator – Geneva, Switzerland

Ms. Mélanie Giovannoni presented and officially launched the WWSF sticker campaign “YES to prevention of child abuse!

  1. A sticker (distributed to all participants), a yellow ribbon mentioning the message above, available in English, French, German and Spanish.
  2. A postcard with the same detachable message. “Every sticker put on a door, refrigerator, car, computer or any other visible place, is a symbol of our commitment to prevent child abuse.

Let’s all say YES to prevention of child abuse!”, concluded Mélanie.

Information Stand – Saturday 19 November

WWSF organized an information stand on 19 November at the Rue de Mont-Blanc in Geneva. The stand gave an opportunity to inform pedestrians of the existence of the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse and to raise awareness of the sticker campaign “YES to prevention of child abuse!”. The WWSF initiative was well received.

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Coalition Impact 2005 - Global Activity Report

Activities and events organized by international NGO coalition members

coming soon


Message from WWSF - Women’s World Summit Foundation

- Why a World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse ?
- Messages of Support 2005
- Poster 2005
- List of International Coalition members 2005
- Open Letter to coalition members and partners 2005

- Why a Prize for Prevention of Child Abuse?
- Laureate organizations 2005

III ) YELLOW RIBBON CAMPAIGN “YES to prevention of child abuse!”

- Geneva program
- Conference-Debate Summary

- Africa - Asia Europe - The Americas - Oceania

Download Report 2005 (870 Ko)

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