The Whole of Syria approach brings together humanitarian actors working from inside Syria and neighbouring countries aiming at increasing the effectiveness of the response. The child protection sector in Syria is comprised of approximately 150 partners, including, UN, INGO, Syrian NGO and government agencies operating in 14 governorates. The sector works to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence against children through strengthening community-based child protection programming, including psychosocial support, provision of specialized child protection services, mine/explosive remnants of war risk education and strengthening the capacity of frontline workers and volunteers to respond to child protection issues.
2021 Response plan in numbers
Children comprise almost half of the affected population. Grave child rights violations remain a significant concern, including in areas where hostilities have declined, with children at risk of being killed or injured, recruited and used in hostilities, tortured, detained, abducted and sexually abused. In 2020, UN verified 2,388 of such violations against children in 12 out of 14 governorates, with significant variations by region, illustrating persistent trends of violence though not the full range of protection risks affecting children.258Deepening poverty continues to fuel harmful coping mechanisms and strain the capacities of families and communities to protect children, particularly adolescent girls and boys: child labour, including its worst forms is reported in all governorates and in 22 per cent of assessed communities as frequently occurring. Access to basic rights are further jeopardized for children without official birth certificates and children with disabilities. Many of whom also suffer marginalization, stigma and discrimination, whilst facing heightened child protection risks.Separation from caregivers is a persistent issue across Syria. Death of a caregiver (15 per cent for boys and girls), economic need (25 per cent for boys, 13 per cent for girls), child marriage (11 per cent for boys, 44 per cent for girls) and child recruitment (10 per cent for boys) are among the top cited reasons for family separations. The absence of a continuum of alternative care options, including formal options, is a concern.Recruitment and use of children by parties to the conflict has become a normalized practice in some parts of Syria. In the 2020, the UN verified 813 incidents of recruitment and use of children (96 per cent boys), with 99 per cent used in combat roles, and seven per cent under the age of 15.260 Financial and material incentives, family and community influence, as well as the need for protection, survival, status and lack of meaningful alternatives remain the main drivers of recruitment.Psychosocial distress among children is reported in 23 per cent of surveyed households demonstrating the cumulative toll on mental well-being with immediate and if not addressed, lifelong consequences.COVID-19 has increased risk factors that drive the intensity and frequency of the aforementioned CP risks and vulnerabilities, whilst also undermining partners’ detection mechanisms.