Module 4: Building Safe and Protective Environments for Children

Learning Objectives

  1. To describe the difference between a rights based approach to violence and a traditional intervention approach
  2. To recognize the relationship between children’s rights and a public health approach to child protection
  3. To explain the relevance of the social ecology as an approach to understanding the factors that can serve to create or mitigate risk of violence
  4. To describe the four types of measure that are needed to build a safe environment for children


In Module Three of this Unit, we explored the implications for health professionals of a rights based approach to addressing violence at the level of the individual child, within health systems and institutions, and at the wider public policy level. Here we take a step back and examine the wider approaches needed to build environments consistent with freedom from violence and the promotion of children’ holistic well-being. In so doing, the module highlights how such an approach has parallels with a public health approach. It introduces a social ecology model to help explain the multiple factors which contribute to both the potential risks of violence faced by children as well as the factors that can mitigate and serve to protect children.

Finally, the module provides a comprehensive overview of the measures that need to be introduced in order to build protective environments for children: legal and policy measures; social support programmes; communication, awareness and advocacy; and research and data collection.

Before reading the module, watch this video: