Analysis of the child protection in Senegal

In order to better understand the challenges related to child protection and the fight against violence against children in Senegal, the International Bureau for Children’s Rights, in collaboration with its partners in the Empowering Girls and Frontline Actors against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence – Xalé Sama Yité project, took stock of the national child protection system and its capacity to prevent and eradicate violence against children. 

Research was carried out between March and August 2021 in the cities of Dakar, Saint-Louis and Fatick, in collaboration with the project partners. The aim was to collect data in order to analyse the country’s child protection context. This preliminary analysis, also known as the ‘state of play’, will serve as a basis for efforts to strengthen child protection in Senegal. It ensures that the project and its activities are adapted to the country’s context and realities, and that the needs identified by the various actors involved, both institutional and civil society, as well as the concerns expressed by children are taken into account. 

Validation of the state of play by children, Dakar, September 2021

Validation of the state of play, Saly, September 2021











A desire to do better that comes up against economic and human realities

Field visits as part of the design of the State of Play, Fatick

The analysis of the Senegalese context shows a willingness on the part of the State to protect the country’s children effectively, and notes the presence of numerous actors (institutional and civil society) committed to the protection of their rights. However, several gaps remain: the legal framework could be strengthened, and a lack of material, human and financial resources affects the implementation of children’s rights in the country. Protection services are unevenly distributed throughout the country, and the structures adapted to receive and accompany children are too few and remain difficult to access. In addition, there is a lack of qualified human resources capable of providing support adapted to the specific needs of children.

Despite initiatives aimed at informing children of possible remedies in the event of violence or failure to respect their rights, they remain poorly informed of the services and resources available, and are not equipped to have the courage to report a case. In general, children’s participation in their own protection and that of their peers is a major challenge, and is hampered by the lack of training of the people interacting with them, as well as a lack of collective space to make their voices heard.

On the basis of these observations, several recommendations were made to improve the implementation of children’s rights in Senegal and overcome the obstacles to the eradication of sexual and gender-based violence against children. Ways of strengthening the skills of professionals in the four sectors targeted by the project (security forces, social sector, justice and prison sector) were identified. 

Some examples of recommendations made:

  • Adopt the draft Children’s Code in the near future
  • Systematise the provision of protective measures for child victims and witnesses, such as psychosocial support and
  • Systematically provide protective measures for child victims and witnesses, such as psychosocial support and access to health and legal services
  • Implementing the presence of specialised educators or social workers in police stations and stations, in order to and police stations to ensure child-friendly interventions
  • Increase the number of juvenile brigades throughout the country and provide them with adequate human and material resources
  • etc.

This inventory has also been adapted for children, in the form of a comic strip, to help them familiarise themselves with the context of their rights and the possible remedies in case of violence.

Read the summary of the situation in Senegal (in French only)

An official launch 

The state of play was unveiled to the general public on 6 December in Dakar, in the presence of more than 50 representatives of the project sectors, state institutions and partner training schools, civil society and two children from partner associations. On this occasion, the children were able to question the state actors on several aspects, such as the perception of children in conflict with the law by adults.

As part of this launch, the Bureau appeared on the 8pm news on RTS1, a Senegalese news channel: to watch the clip, click here.


Learn more about our project in Senegal