Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

CCC Commitments and Benchmarks

Commitments Benchmarks
Commitment 1

Effective leadership is established for both the child protection and gender-based violence (GBV) cluster areas of responsibility, with links to other cluster/sector coordination mechanisms on critical inter-sectoral issues. Support is provided for the establishment of a mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) coordination mechanism.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 1

Both child protection and GBV coordination mechanisms provide guidance to all partners on common standards, strategies and approaches, ensuring that all critical child protection/ GBV gaps and vulnerabilities are identified; information is provided on roles, responsibilities and accountability to ensure that all gaps are addressed without duplication. MHPSS coordination mechanisms are established, with linkages to relevant clusters.

Commitment 2

Monitoring and reporting of grave violations and other serious protection concerns regarding children and women are undertaken and systematically trigger response (including advocacy).

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 2

Periodic reports on grave violations and other serious protection concerns for children and women are available and utilized.

Commitment 3

Key child protection mechanisms are strengthened in emergency-affected areas.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 3

A plan is in place for preventing and responding to major child protection risks, building on existing systems; safe environments are established for the most vulnerable children.

Commitment 4

Separation of children from families is prevented and addressed, and family-based care is promoted.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 4

All separated and unaccompanied children are identified and are in family-based care or an appropriate alternative.

Commitment 5

Violence, exploitation and abuse of children and women, including GBV, are prevented and addressed.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 5

Affected communities are mobilized to prevent and address violence, exploitation and abuse of children and women; existing systems to respond to the needs of GBV survivors are improved.

Commitment 6

Psychosocial support is provided to children and their caregivers.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 6

All child protection programmes integrate psychosocial support in their work, in line with the IASC MHPSS guidelines.

Commitment 7

Child recruitment and use, as well as illegal and arbitrary detention, are addressed and prevented for conflict-affected children.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 7

An inter-agency plan is developed and implemented for prevention of and response to child recruitment; advocacy against illegal and arbitrary detention for conflict-affected children is conducted.

Commitment 8

The use of landmines and other indiscriminate or illicit weapons by state and non-state actors is prevented, and their impact is addressed.

Policy  |  Tools
Benchmark 8

Children and communities in affected areas have access to mine/ unexploded ordinance risk education and are better protected from the effects of landmines and other indiscriminate and/or illicit weapons.

Technical Justification

Experience demonstrates that humanitarian situations both exacerbate existing protection risks and create new ones. The prevention and programmatic response to specific violations committed against children - such as the separation of children from their families; association with armed forces and groups; exposure to GBV, landmines and unexploded ordinance; and psychosocial distress - are supported by the development and implementation of inter-agency guidelines in these areas. There is also increasing recognition of the need to strengthen a range of child protection mechanisms to prevent and respond to various forms of violence, abuse and exploitation (see UNICEF Child Protection Strategy, 20 May 2008).

Programme Action

  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Early Recovery


  • Clarify the responsibilities of UNICEF and its partners regarding child protection in humanitarian situations.
  • Strengthen existing coordination mechanisms to ensure that the response is timely and coordinated, and that it conforms to humanitarian principles and standards. If no coordination mechanisms exist, create mechanisms in collaboration with national authorities. Clarify coordination mechanisms for gender-based violence and mental health and psychosocial support.
  • Develop an inter-agency preparedness plan, in consultation with the government, based on identified risks, capacities and resources. Develop performance benchmarks for child protection, GBV and child protection components of MHPSS.
  • Train staff and partners about child protection in an emergency, using policies, tools and the CCCs.
  • Agree to use global common inter-agency registration, tracing and family reunification forms; develop messages with communities and key actors to prevent family separation and minimize institutionalization; and develop and pre-position family tracing, and reunification and alternative care kits.
  • Identify and disseminate relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, response protocols, referral mechanisms and knowledge of social attitudes and values.
  • Identify stakeholders, services and partners with the capacity to address violence, exploitation or abuse, including GBV; and build capacity of partners to provide multi-sectoral response services (e.g., health, psychosocial support, security and legal/justice) to victims and survivors.
  • Identify key opportunities for integration of psychosocial support into child protection programming, in line with IASC MHPSS guidelines.
  • Identify and disseminate information on the international and national standards on minimum age for recruitment in armed forces and groups and, where necessary, advocate for the adoption of international commitments in national legislation.
  • Identify and address risk factors that lead to child recruitment as well as the illegal and arbitrary detention of children, and prepare a checklist for armed forces; and raise awareness in detention facilities to prevent violations of children's rights.
  • Advocate against the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of landmines and other indiscriminate and/or illicit weapons, and conduct capacity mapping. Build capacities for surveillance and mine risk education.
  • Establish long-term agreements for procurement of specific supplies, and pre-position essential supply components.


  • Establish, activate and support coordination mechanisms for child protection, GBV and MHPSS in consultation with the government and other partners to coordinate rapid assessment, mapping, funding, strategy development and involvement of affected populations.
  • In armed conflict, initiate the establishment of monitoring and reporting mechanisms focused on grave violations against children and sexual violence against both children and women, with a view to developing action plans; and ensure that affected children and women are referred to existing services.
  • Support community-based safe environments for women and children, including child-friendly spaces, with particular attention to girls, adolescents and their caregivers, and provide support for early childhood development activities.
  • Ensure usage of common registration and tracing forms, and explore usage of the inter-agency child-protection database to identify, register, verify, reunify and follow up on separated and unaccompanied children.
  • Advocate immediately for family-based care for separated children, and work to prevent separation during displacement and extreme economic hardship.
  • Mobilize children's and women's existing social support networks and support the resumption of age-, gender- and culturally appropriate structured activities for children and women.
  • Seek commitments from armed groups and forces to stop or avoid recruiting and using children, in line with the Paris Commitments; negotiate to screen combatants and dependents, and to register, identify and release associated children.
  • Advocate against the illegal or arbitrary detention of children, and facilitate access to legal and other assistance for children in contact with the law.
  • Identify threats from landmines, other explosive devices and unsecured weapons and munitions. Coordinate and conduct audience-specific mine risk education, and monitor, report on and advocate against the use or presence of indiscriminate, unsecured or illicit weapons and ammunitions.
  • Identify and transmit supply input needs to Supply and Logistics.

Early Recovery

  • Strengthen involvement and/or leadership by government counterparts and other national partners in coordination structures.
  • Support partners in identifying, monitoring and reporting on serious protection concerns to trigger response and advocacy.
  • Build the capacity of government, community and protection systems for children and women.
  • Advocate for and provide technical support on the inclusion of issues pertinent to fulfilling the rights of children and women in ruleof- law and security sector reform; support the resumption and/or strengthening of birth registration systems.
  • Initiate systems for safe and supportive kinship and foster care, and advocate against premature adoption; when possible and in the best interest of children, build on existing national social-welfare systems.
  • Engage local capacities to address violence and exploitation; and support service providers, law enforcement actors, women's rights groups, communities and children to prevent violence, exploitation and abuse, including GBV.
  • Integrate psychosocial support in child-friendly spaces and other protection responses for children and women, and coordinate with and refer to MHPSS in other sectors.
  • Initiate release and demobilization for an inclusive, community-oriented approach to reintegration, based on the Paris Principles.
  • Initiate non-stigmatizing, community-oriented approaches to social reintegration and livelihood support for vulnerable women and children.
  • Initiate integration of mine risk education into existing public awareness and education programmes, and establish prevention, education and survivors' assistance programmes in coordination with partners.
  • Initiate a gap analysis of local and national capacities in protecting children and women, and ensure integration of capacity strengthening in early recovery and transition plans, with a focus on risk reduction.

Guidelines and Tools

Applicable to all commitments
CAAC Issue Brief, UNICEF, 2015
GBV Issue Brief, UNICEF, 2015
MRM Issue Brief, UNICEF, 2015
PSS Issue Brief, UNICEF, 2015
Primero- a tool to facilitate case management, incident monitoring and family tracing and reunification
Child protection in emergencies training, UNICEF, 2014
Minimum standards for child protection in humanitarian action, CPWG, 2012
Core commitments for children in humanitarian action [En.] [Fr.] [Es.] , UNICEF, 2010
Handbook for Coordinating GBV Interventions in Humanitarian Settings , GBV AoR, 2010
Child protection in emergencies competency framework, CPWG, 2010
Child protection: Considerations for emergency appeals and response plans, UNICEF
Child protection information management system, UNICEF
Disaster Risk Reduction, UNICEF
Commitment 1: Coordination and assessment
Child protection in Emergencies Coordination Handbook [En.] [Fr.] , CPWG, 2016 1
Child protection in emergencies training (module on coordination), UNICEF, 2014 1
Child protection in emergencies assessment toolkit [En.] [Fr.], IASC, 2009 1
Global Protection Cluster 1
Child Protection Working Group 1
For all other documents related to Commitment 1, please click here (requires Intranet access)
Commitment 2: Monitoring and reporting on grave violations and serious protection concerns
MRM Guidelines [Ar.];[En.]; [Fr.], OSRSG CAAC, UNICEF, DPKO, 2012 2
MRM Field Manual [Ar.];[En.];[Fr.], OSRSG CAAC, UNICEF, DPKO, 2012 2
MRM Training Toolkit [En.];[Fr.], UNICEF, OSRSG-CAAC, DPKO, OHCHR, UNHCR, SCF UK, Human Rights Watch, 2012 2
For all other documents related to Commitment 2, please click here (requires Intranet access)
Commitment 3: Child protection mechanisms
Child protection in emergencies training (modules on community-based CP Mechanisms, institutional child protection mechanisms, strengthening systems in emergencies), UNICEF, 2014 3
A practical guide to developing child friendly spaces, UNICEF 3
Guidelines for child friendly spaces in emergencies, Field testing version, Global Education Cluster, Global Cchild Protection Cluster, IASC, INEE 3
For all other documents related to Commitment 3, please click here (requires Intranet access)
Commitment 4: Prevention, response and care for separated children
Child protection in emergencies training (module on unaccompanied and separated children), UNICEF, 2014 4
Alternative Care Toolkit (ACE), Inter-agency working group on unaccompanied and separated children, draft for field testing 2011 4
Field Handbook for the Implementation of the UNHCR BID Guidelines, UNHCR and IRC, 2011
The lost ones: Emergency care and family tracing for children from birth to five years, UNICEF, 2007 4
Unaccompanied and Separated Children in Tsunami-Affected Countries: UNICEF Guiding Principles, UNICEF, 2005 4
Interagency guiding principles on unaccompanied and separated and children (UASC), Inter-Agency Guiding Principles on Unaccompanied and Separated Children, Inter-Agency (ICRC, UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children and International Rescue Committee, World Vision International), 2004 4
For all other documents related to Commitment 4, please click here (requires Intranet access)
Commitment 5: Violence, exploitation and abuse of children and women, including GBV
Caring for child survivors of sexual abuse– Guidelines for health and psychosocial service providers in humanitarian settings, International Rescue Committee, UNICEF, 2012 5
Caring for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Emergencies - Training Pack, IASC Sub-Working Group on Gender and GBV AoR, 2010 5
Generic GBV action sheets per cluster, GBV AoR, 2010
Ethical and safety recommendations for researching, documenting and monitoring sexual violence in emergencies, WHO, 2007 5
Guidelines for GBV interventions in humanitarian settings, IASC, 2005 5
Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS) 5
For all other documents related to Commitment 5, please click here (requires Intranet access)
Commitment 6: Psychosocial support in emergencies
IASC Guidelines on MHPSS, IASC, 2014 6
UNICEF Community Based PSS, UNICEF, 2014 6
Child protection in emergencies training (module on psychosocial support), UNICEF, 2014 6
Crossroads of Child Protection and Education in Peacebuilding, UNICEF, 2013 6
MHPSS in humanitarian emergencies: What should protection programme managers know?, IASC, 2009 6
Guide to the evaluation of psychosocial programming in emergencies, UNICEF, 2009 6
Checklist for field use on the IASC guidlines on mental health and psychosocial support 6
Guidelines on mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings, IASC, 2007
For all other documents related to Commitment 6, please click here (requires Intranet access)
Commitment 7: child recruitment and use as well as illegal and arbitrary detention
Child protection in emergencies training (module on CAAFAG), UNICEF, 2014 7
Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards (IDDRS), and Operational Guide to the IDDRS(particularly revised chapters 5.20 (Youth) and 5.30 (Children), United Nations, 2012 7
Children formerly associated with armed forces and groups: "How to" guide on economic reintegration, ILO, 2011 7
For all other documents related to Commitment 7, please click here (requires Intranet access)
Commitment 8: Landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW)
UNICEF Emergency MRE Toolkit, UNICEF, 2008 8
Training Manual in support for IMAS MRE Best Practices Guidebook 9 , GICHD & UNICEF, 2009 8
For all other documents related to Commitment 8, please click here (requires Intranet access)