Protection Risk: Child and Forced Family Separation

This protection risk includes all situations when family members are separated, including girls and boys from their parents and caregivers, because of violent conflicts, climate induced disasters and other crises. Some children, persons with disabilities or older persons are separated from their families during the chaos of a humanitarian emergency. Others may be pulled away by parties involved in a violent conflict. Poor living conditions, threats of violence and the disruption of traditional social protection mechanisms may force parents to plan the separation from their children as a negative coping strategy, which puts these unaccompanied or separated persons at a high risk of violence, abuse, and exploitation. Separated children are those separated from both parents or their primary caregiver but not necessarily from other relatives; unaccompanied children are those separated from both parents, primary caregivers and other relatives, and are not under the care of an adult who, by law or costume is responsible for doing so. Family members may be separated for hours, days, months – even years. Those who receive early support in tracing their relatives are more likely to be reunified faster.