Global Research on Ombuds for Children

The global study on the role and impact of Ombuds for Children

©UNICEF IRC/2007 - A clay model representing diversity, created by some of the children at San Rossore


The Global Study currently being undertaken by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre will provide evidence-based analysis on the role and impact of Ombuds for Children for the promotion and protection of children's rights in societies from all regions of the world. In doing so, it will use international standards as well as conceptual thinking on child rights and childhood, to analyse data collected in the research process.

The study does not pretend to identify the 'perfect' model for an ombuds for children, but rather focuses on the elements and conditions that ensure that the institution functions effectively, bearing in mind that country situations and contexts vary greatly and there is no one-size-fits-all model or solution.

The main purpose of the research project is to:
  • Support informed decision-making for countries that are seeking to establish independent institutions for children and others that aim at strengthening existing ones;
  • Advocate for the creation of Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children through partnerships with a wide range of actors in the research process;
  • Enhance the capacity of UNICEF to support the further development of this process;
  • Contribute to strengthening the Global Network of Independent Human Rights Institutions for Children and regional networks, by highlighting commonalities, in terms of approaches, strengths and challenges, among institutions, among and within all regions;
  • Support the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its guidance to States Parties on general measures of implementation;
  • Contribute to international debates on national systems for the promotion and protection of children's rights.

The research methodology involves a combination of four elements:
  • Data collection on individual institutions. Head of institutions were asked to complete a web survey that was elaborated and tested with experts and practitioners and builds on international standards. The survey is available in English, French, Spanish and Russian. As a result, the process of completing the questionnaire contributes to raising awareness and educating partners on applicable standards and key characteristics of these institutions.
  • Case studies. To complement data collected with the surveys, case studies take into account the views of a wide range of actors, including children, involved in the promotion and protection of children's rights in the country. These studies are also meant to be used at national level as advocacy tools for the creation and/or reform of these institutions. The first case-study was conducted in Turkey, because that country is currently at the very initial stages of the establishment process and requests for advice received by UNICEF IRC often relate to this phase.
  • Experts' contribution. The research benefits from the contribution of experts who, at various phases of the project, have refined the framework and approach through discussion papers, participation in seminars and advice.
  • Literature review. The study is also based on a review of selected publications with a view to reflecting and acquiring the multidisciplinary approach identified as essential in the daily work of Ombuds for Children.