An integrated child protection system requires a national legislative framework that creates a safe environment for children. It needs to ensure respect, protection and fulfilment of the rights of the child according to the principles and provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In addition to developing overarching children’s rights statutes, it is essential that all relevant sector-specific laws, such as those on education, health and justice, reflect the UN principles and standards.
Several Member States, such as Estonia, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovakia are revising, or have recently revised or restructured, their child protection systems, including the legislative frameworks. In Malta, for instance, this led to the 2014 adoption of a Child Protection Act.
Is there a main legal instrument on child protection at national level? (More information on national legal instruments can be found below)
Source: FRA, 2014
Eighteen EU Member States have a key legal instrument devoted to child protection, which addresses identification, referral and assessment of child victims of violence, abuse and neglect. These instruments contain provisions on the treatment of children deprived of parental care that fall under the protection of the state.
The United Kingdom does not have a common legal instrument. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have each developed their own related legislation. In Spain, the autonomous regions have each elaborated their own laws. In Belgium, the federal states have done the same.
German and Austrian federal law addresses child protection responsibilities, setting forth the general framework and the key principles for drafting state and regional laws.