To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to include child protection through (a) services which identify children at risk of violence, reporting and referral mechanisms and (b) supporting children who have experienced violence in its response to the covid-19 pandemic.
The UK Government is committed to protecting vulnerable children and helping them to grow up free from violence through COVID-19 and beyond. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) plays a leading global role in efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 to end the violence, abuse and exploitation of children. This includes supporting a systems approach to child protection that ensures people, policies and services are working together to prevent harm from happening and to respond effectively when incidences occur.
The FCDO is working with international partners to ensure that child protection is prioritised and integrated into the multi-sectoral response to COVID-19. We have provided £20 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to support the continuity of essential social services for children, including maintaining and adapting prevention and response services for children affected by violence during COVID-19. FCDO is also adapting our child protection programming to respond to COVID-19. For example, our Children on the Move programme, which is improving the child protection system for children migrating in Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, has established hotline services for children affected by the pandemic and increased the capacity of social workers with protective equipment to continue their roles in protecting children.