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Child protection in emergencies

Emergencies can have devastating effects on children’s lives. They often result in girls and boys becoming orphaned, separated from their families, recruited into armed groups, sexually abused, trafficked or, as is often the case, several of these at the same time.

Girls play in a Plan International-built child friendly space in Cameroon
Girls play in a Plan International-built child friendly space in Cameroon.

During an emergency, children not only experience new child protection threats, but existing problems are exacerbated and child protection mechanisms and systems can be undermined or damaged.

Many child protection actions are therefore urgent and life-saving.

Preventing child abuse during emergencies

Plan International strives to respond to and prevent abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children in emergencies.

We work in partnership with children, their families and local authorities in their communities to strengthen child-protection systems and community-based mechanisms.

Our programmes ensure equal attention is given to girls’ and boys’ protection issues.

Supporting children

Plan International’s child protection in emergencies work supports:

  • child-friendly spaces - safe areas where children can learn, play and be children, in the midst of often chaotic surroundings
  • community-based psychosocial and emotional support. Read more about our work in Sierra Leone, working to ensure children were protected during the Ebola crisis
  • awareness-raising and advocacy efforts to ensure child protection principles are incorporated into humanitarian response.

Plan International is an active member of the global Child Protection Working Group*.

* Plan International is not responsible for the content on external websites