UN report reveals gaps and good practices in tackling violence against childrenListen /
Despite the adoption of policies and laws related to violence against children, many gaps persist, says a senior UN official.
Marta Santos Pais, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Violence Against Children, says it is "very rare" to encounter countries with legislation that protect girls in the same way as boys.
Santos Pais participated in a roundtable on Thursday related to the launch of a global survey on Violence against Children which she presented to the UN General Assembly earlier this week.
She told UN Radio that child marriage is just one example of how the law treats girls differently from boys.
"In the system of criminal justice, girls are very often penalized because they are considered to have behaviour that is labelled as immoral, which is very subjective to define, therefore running the risk of being deprived of liberty and kept in prison for long periods of time, which of course should not be the case; or girls who are drawn into situations of domestic work where they are not benefiting from any help or access to education."
Santos Pais said the report also lists many good practices by countries.
She added that it also includes a "roadmap for the future" as no country can legitimize action which supports children at risk of violence if laws are unclear.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.