Colombia is the first country to conduct a Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) in South America. The Government of Colombia led the implementation of the VACS in 2018, and launched the VACS report in 2020.
The Colombia Ministry of Health coordinated the implementation of the VACS, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Agency for International Development Advancing Care, the Protection for Children in Adversity, the International Organization for Migration, and other Together for Girls partners.
Using the results of the VACS, the Government of Colombia developed its National Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children in 2021.
VACS completed, implementing response
As a result of Colombia’s commitment to the Violence Against Children and Youth Survey (VACS) process and public demand, there is increased momentum to end violence against children in Colombia, leading to concrete actions.
In February 2021, Colombia passed a law eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual violence crimes against children, reflecting the evidence outlined in What Works to Prevent Sexual Violence Against Children. In March 2021, Colombia's congress approved a bill to prohibit all forms of physical punishment and humiliating treatments against children and adolescents.
Development of the National Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children — based on findings from the VACS — began in late 2020 and continued through 2022. The Instituto Colombiano para el Bienestar Familiar (ICBF) led the coordination of the multi-sectoral working group that developed the National Action Plan. The government, UNICEF, and other partners are in the process of planning for the implementation of the National Action Plan and department-level action plans.