Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

In some countries up to 1 child out of 4 suffers from abuse, exploitation, violence and neglect. Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children are estimated to experience violence annually; 150 million girls and 73 million boys worldwide are raped or subject to sexual violence every year; 115 million children are involved in hazardous work.

In humanitarian settings, in addition to the pre-existing issues, girls and boys are killed or injured, become orphaned, are separated from their families, are recruited into armed forces or groups, are trafficked or, worse, experience several of these at the same time.


The main purpose of the Minimum Standards is to:

  • Establish common principles amongst those working in child protection, and to strengthen coordination between them
  • Improve the quality of child protection programming, and its impact for children
  • Improve accountability within child protection work
  • Further define the professional field of child protection
  • Provide a synthesis of good practice and learning to date
  • Enable better advocacy and communication on child protection risks, need and responses

Target Audience

These standards are intended for use by those working on child protection or related areas of humanitarian action. This includes 1) those working directly with children, families and communities 2) planners and policy makers 3) coordinators 4) donors 5) academics and 6) those working on advocacy, media or communications.


The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action follow the structure of the Sphere standards. Each standard is accompanied by key actions, measurements (including indicators and targets), and guidance notes.

Download: Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action

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