Nepal: Consultant (Structural Violence against Children in South Asia)

Organization: UN Children’s Fund
Country: Nepal
Closing date: 08 Mar 2017


Structural violence refers to ways that social structures harm and put some people at a disadvantage. Social structures are often taken for granted as they may provide a sense of security for the population and an understanding of what is ‘normal’. These social structures may also aim to protect the society and cultural patterns and traditions. Yet, these same structures may put groups of people at risk, limit their opportunities, or cause and reinforce violence. While structural violence may be associated with interpersonal violence, the ability to respond to interpersonal violence is, in part, dependent on the social structures in which it occurs. Interpersonal violence is the intentional use of power that has a high likelihood of harming a person. This power is usually exemplified in physical, psychological, sexual or emotional violence, and may be actual or threatened. Interpersonal violence needs to be seen in the context of the structural violence in the region for both girls and boys.

In South Asia violence against children is widespread and pervasive and remains a harsh reality for millions of children in South Asia which has long-lasting consequences on their lives. In Afghanistan, 74 percent of girls and boys age 2-14 experience any form of violent discipline. More than 70 percent of adolescent girls aged 15 – 19 in Bhutan say wife-beating can be justified under certain circumstances. In Sri Lanka out of 15,000 legal trials pending nation-wide, more than 4,000 or one-third involve some form of violence toward a child. Almost half of girls (45 percent) in the region marry before the age of 18. In Bangladesh, 47 percent of ever-married girls aged 15-19 who ever experienced physical or sexual violence did so at the hands of their partners or husbands. In India, 9 percent of girls and women aged 15 to 49 years reported having experienced sexual violence including being forced to have sexual intercourse or perform any other sexual acts against one’s own will and for many women this occurs at young age, with up to 5 percent of 15-19 years old having experienced the same. Sexual violence is not limited to girls alone; in the Maldives more than 17 percent of adolescent boys, grades 8 to 10, reported that they were physically forced to have sex and in Afghanistan the practise of bachabazi is prominent.

Corporal punishment remains the most common form of violence against children with it being permitted in homes, schools, correctional institutes and alternative care settings in Nepal, for example. Children are perceived as “adults” early on and this, along with other factors, contributes to South Asia having highest global numbers of child labourers including 3.3 million child workers in Pakistan. The recruitment and use of children as child soldiers has taken place in countries which have experienced or are experiencing conflict, and governments – together with partners – have taken steps to eliminate this practice and provide care and services to children who were involved (e.g. Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal). Violence against children with disabilities is also of concern across South Asia as disabled children often face severe discrimination, are much less likely to be in school and are more likely to be victims of sexual, physical and verbal violence.

This happens in a context with significant gender discrimination evidenced by, for example, the continuing practise of gender-biased sex selection, strict roles for each sex, child marriage which predominantly affects girls, and different ages of majority for males and females. Both Nepal and India have a strong caste system with the main caste and subcastes and clans (jhat) within each. Further there is a wide disparity between the rich and the poor, and differing opportunities and responsibilities for each. The types of violence experienced by children or that children are exposed to may also be influenced by the roles they are expected to play at different ages in their lives. Age is not always marked chronologically, with for example, a girl having her menses being considered an adult although she is 12 years or a boy considered an adult when he is able to work.

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there is a global recognition that ending violence is imperative if development is to be achieved. Target 16.2 specifically calls for the end of abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children. Goal 5 includes a broad objective to achieve gender equality, and target 5.2 and 5.3 call for an end to all forms of violence against women and girls and the elimination of harmful practices including child marriage. Goal 8 calls for the sustainable growth with target 8.7 calling for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour. UNICEF is committed to supporting the countries in the region to achieve the SDGs. UNICEF has recognised the imperative of ending violence in its Child Protection Strategy (2008), the draft Strategic Plan (2016), and the ending of gender based violence, particularly in emergency contexts in its gender action plan (2014).

Purpose of the Assignment:

The purpose of this consultancy is to conduce a literature review on the nature of structural violence against children, including adolescent girls and boys, in South Asia. The study is to look at country and cultural contexts in order to understand the way age, gender, caste (in countries where appropriate) and class (including poverty), among other social constructs, intersect and further influence the response of institutions and their reactions to violence against boys and girls, including adolescents). The study will inform the UNICEF country programmes, including their approaches to child protection systems and institutional development and evidence of good practises that address structural violence.

Assignment Tasks:

Under the general guidance from the South Asia Regional Child Protection Advisor and the Regional Gender Advisor the consultant will undertake a literature review that:

  • articulates the relationship and distinctions between structural and interpersonal violence, and specifically violence against children. This includes consideration of how the structural violence in the countries in South Asia influences the interpersonal violence in the same countries;
  • explores the nature of structural violence in South Asia to clearly understand the responsiveness of institutions to violence in South Asia and the assumptions that influence the ending of violence against girls and boys;
  • articulates similarities and differences in the nature of structural violence between and within the countries;
  • considers the inter-relationships between each of the types of structural violence, specifically as it connects with both boys and girls; and,
  • provides as a section of the report examples and evidence of good practise programming and strategies that address structural violence, and specifically as it affects boys and girls, as found during the review of the literature.

The review must specifically consider violence against children and adolescents (for both girls and boys), while the assignment has specified the areas of age, gender, caste, and class. The consultant should also consider other social structures that may result in violence or discrimination, such as religion, ethnicity and conflict/war. The consultant should also consider the ‘types’ of violence that may be experienced specific to these structural areas.

The specific tasks are:

  1. Refine the methodology for the assignment. This research protocol should describe how studies will be located (inclusion criteria and search strategy), appraised (methodological quality criteria), and synthesized, specifying the timescales.
  2. Review the literature available. The literature reviewed should primarily be academic literature, and quality grey literature. It should also include a review of quantitative data that is available on violence against children in the countries in South Asia and at regional level and include a section with evidence of good practise programming and strategies that address structural violence.
  3. Prepare a draft literature review.
  4. Prepare a final literature review, incorporating comments from the reference group.

The literature review should be in academic style and clearly referenced.

Expected Deliverables:

  • Methodology
  • Draft literature review
  • Finalise the literature review, incorporating any feedback on the draft report

Duration of the Consultancy:

The contract will be from March 2017 through to August 2017. It is estimated that the number of days required is 45 days during this time period. This number is however only an estimate and the actual number of days required should be clearly outlined and justified in any response to this TOR. The final deliverable is expected by 30 August 2017.

Working arrangements:

The consultant is expected to independently source both the quantitative and qualitative material for the literature review, although some resources may be provided by the regional advisors.

The consultant will be home based. The consultant will provide her/his own computer and software required to complete the work activities outlined in this TOR. No travel is expected within the context of this assignment

Qualifications of Successful Candidate:


A master’s degree in anthropology, sociology, or other social science field

Years of relevant experience

  • At least 8 years of proven experience in literature reviews and research on child protection
  • Proven understanding of different forms of structural and interpersonal violence against children
  • Strong track record of peer reviewed publications.
  • Knowledge of and experience working in South Asia desirable


  • Excellent written and spoken English

Competencies of Successful Candidate:

  • Analysing (III)

  • Applying technical expertise (III)

How to apply:

Qualified candidates are requested to submit a cover letter, outline methodology for the assignment with the timeline and an example of their published work.**

Please indicate your ability, availability with specific date and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable). Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

To apply, please use the following link :