Child Protection

Child Protection in Emergencies refers to the prevention of and response to abuse, neglect, exploitation of and violence against children in emergencies. An emergency is defined as ‘a situation where lives, physical and mental wellbeing, or development opportunities for children are threatened as a result of armed conflict, disaster or the breakdown of social or legal order, and where local capacity to cope is exceeded or inadequate’. 

The protection of children during emergencies is an Area of Responsibility (AoR) within the Global Protection Cluster which is facilitated through the Child Protection Working Group (CPWG). As the designated Focal Point Agency for the Child Protection AoR, UNICEF coordinates the CPWG and is also the provider of last resort.

The CPWG is the global level forum for coordination on child protection in humanitarian settings. The group brings together NGOs, UN agencies, academics and others under the shared objective of ensuring more predictable, accountable and effective child protection responses in emergencies. To achieve its goals the CPWG works closely with other specialist protection actors, notably in gender-based violence, as well as with actors specialized in mental health and psychosocial support as well as education.

NGOs and other CPWG members lead the majority of CPWG initiatives and drive the development of the work plan. Many of the strong interagency relationships within the global CPWG are reflected in field level child protection coordination groups. The Geneva based coordinator, Capacity Building Focal Point, and Rapid Response Team also provide support to field level child protection coordination groups.

The CPWG hold annual planning meetings to exchange field-level experiences, review current trends and gaps in the field of child protection, and develop inter-agency strategies to strengthen child protection responses. Initiatives in the current CPWG work-plan aim to: develop operational standards for child protection; enhance the capacity of the child protection in emergencies workforce, improve assessment of child protection needs; strengthen child protection coordination in emergencies; and raise the profile of and support for the sector.

As part of the overall GPC Help Desk initiative, the Child Protection AoR facilitates a Help Desk function through which you can directly send a request for technical support on Child Protection – related topics. Read more

More information



Michael Copland
Child Protection AoR Coordinator
Bilal Sougou
Child Protection AoR Deputy Coordinator