Project name: UNICEF Pacific Child Protection Program
Outcome areas: Ending violence against women and enhancing agency
Project partner: UNICEF
Total funding: $7,000,000*
Funding timeframe: 2014–2018
Families in Kiribati are participating in UNICEF’s positive parenting program to promote homes, communities and schools that are free from violence, abuse and exploitation. Kiribati also now has one of the strongest legal frameworks to protect girls and boys with the passing of the Juvenile Justice Act in 2015.
Studies in Kiribati have shown that there are high levels of public acceptance of violence as a suitable punishment for children. More than 70 percent of adults admit to using corporal punishment on children at home.
There is an established correlation between violence against children and violence against women by their intimate partners. In Kiribati, women experiencing violence from their husband or intimate partner are seven times more likely than women who do not experience intimate partner violence to report their children are also being abused.
Equipping adults with non-violent disciplinary techniques contributes to ending this generational violence. In consultation with faith-based organisations and community leaders and stakeholders, UNICEF has developed a community facilitation package to promote positive parenting and community action on child protection in the Kiribati language. It will be rolled out with the implementation manual developed to support the Child, Young People and Family Welfare Act 2013.
Pacific Women and UNICEF have also contributed to the strengthening of the legal framework in Kiribati to set standards that will protect the nation’s children. One particularly vulnerable group of children are those who interact with the formal justice system. The newly passed Juvenile Justice Act 2015 puts in place child sensitive justice procedures for child victims, witnesses and offenders.
A separate Juvenile Court will be established, so that children in contact with the justice system will not attend the regular court, which is set up for adults. The court will also have a child friendly space.
At the time the Bill passed into law, there were 10 children being held in adult prisons in Kiribati. The Juvenile Justice Act requires children and adults to be separated in prisons and also limits the detention of children.