CRC selected recommendations from February 2010:

  1. The complete abolition of corporal punishment from all the settings of a child’s life;
  2. The thorough and effective investigation and prosecution of perpetrators that assault, violate or kill children, and the creation of support services for child victims;
  3. The renewal and evaluation of the National Plan of Action for Children in light of the Convention and the ratified Protocols.
Political will and coordination The high prevalence of VAC led the Government to prioritize services and programmes for children in its Five-Year Development Plan 2014–2019, and to highlight the protection of their rights. The adoption of the Law of Integral Protection of Children and Adolescents created the national child protection system. Under this law, the National Council for Children and Adolescents (CONNA) is responsible for the coordination of the system and the protection of the rights of children and adolescents. CONNA was tasked with developing the National Policy on Children and Adolescents 2013–2023 and is responsible for its implementation. The National Policy on Children and Adolescents is complemented by other initiatives that set out short-, medium- and long-term strategies and concrete actions to reduce VAC. The National Council for Citizen Security and Peaceful Coexistence, a mechanism comprised of public and private institutions, which promotes civic engagement, implements the Plan El Salvador Seguro in partnership with the Government. This Plan includes elements related to the protection of children and adolescents. Since 2016, the National Education Council has developed and monitored the implementation of the Plan El Salvador Educado.
Consultation The child protection system comprises, among other bodies, a specialized judiciary, 16 protection boards that investigate threats and violations of the rights of children, and the Shared Care Network, formed by civil society organizations (CSOs) that work for children and child-centred public institutions. In terms of conducting the VACS, key actors are USAID, PAHO, CDC, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Promundo and the Instituto Universitario de Opinión Pública (El Salvador).
Data collection Yearly, CONNA elaborates a state of children’s situation report that describes aspects of their development and life, such as health, education, recreation and participation. A National Health Survey was carried out in 2014 by the Ministry of Health–National Health Institute, in collaboration with the General Directorate of Statistics and Censuses as part of the UNICEF MICS programme. The survey contains topics of early childhood development and child protection. In 2017, the VACS was launched under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice and the International Organization for Migration with the support of CDC and Together for Girls; data are being collected and the report will be available in 2018.
National road map/action plan As part of the Law for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents and the National Policy for Children and Adolescents, El Salvador had a National Plan on the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents, which ended in 2017. Based on an evaluation of the plan and the findings of the VACS, the National Action Plan to End Violence against Children is to be developed in 2018.
Implementation and evaluation

In August 2017, El Salvador approved an amendment to the Family Code prohibiting child marriage and, in November of the same year, the National Intersectoral Strategy for the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy was approved. The strategy prioritizes short-term interventions in 25 municipalities with a high prevalence of pregnancies in girls under 14 years of age and longer-term interventions to be implemented over the next 10 years in the rest of the country’s municipalities. In addition, CONNA has implemented three national communication campaigns to prevent violence and promote a culture of peace in family settings: Marca mi vida (2014–2015), Protection Begins in the Home, with Good Treatment and Positive Discipline (2015–2016) and Protection Begins at Home with Comprehensive Education for Sexuality (2017). Also, since 2015, the radio programme Talk With Me has been aired to guide families and society on positive discipline. In addition, the first national helpline to improve children’s access to protective services will be launched in 2018.

Migration dynamics, particularly irregular migration, have generated new needs and concerns for the protection, care and development of children and adolescents in El Salvador. Recent studies on migration have revealed that violence – in particular gang-related and gender-based violence – in addition to limited access to social services, family reunification and the lack of opportunities are among the leading causes of child migration.

Opportunities
  1. Establish an effective multi-stakeholder platform under CONNA, building on the Shared Care Network and the platform set up for the VACS, and thereby actively support the engagement of groups from the health, justice, social inclusion and education sectors, including representatives from the Government, United Nations agencies, civil society, the private sector, academia, faith-based organizations (FBOs) and children;
  2. Ensure that reforms to the Law for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents 2009 currently under discussion in the parliament include the prohibition of all forms of VAC, including the explicit prohibition of all corporal punishment and the repeal of all legal defences for its use, and ensure these reforms are appropriately resourced and implemented, including through awareness-raising campaigns and training on positive discipline for parents and professionals;
  3. Based on an evaluation of the existing plan and the findings of the VACS, develop the National Action Plan to End Violence against Children through multisectoral and multi-stakeholder consultation; and
  4. Develop a transition strategy that will ensure that upcoming candidates (congressional in 2018 and presidential in 2019) from all parties seriously commit to preventing VAC
References Encuesta Nacional de Salud-MICS 2014, Resultados Principales
Reporting into SDGs El Salvador reported to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2017.
Government contact Zaira Navas, Executive Director of the National Council for Children and Adolescents