Pulse

Investing in protecting kids from violence

| Updated on June 19, 2020 Published on June 19, 2020

Half of the world’s children, or approximately one billion children each year, are affected by physical, sexual or psychological violence, suffering injuries, disabilities and death, because countries have failed to follow established strategies to protect them.

This is according to a new report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, UNESCO, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children and the End Violence Partnership.

The report, “Global Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children 2020”, is the first of its kind, charting progress in 155 countries against the “INSPIRE” framework, a set of seven strategies for preventing and responding to violence against children. The report signals a clear need in all countries to scale up efforts to implement them. While nearly all countries (88 per cent) have key laws in place to protect children against violence, less than half of countries (47 per cent) said these were being strongly enforced.

The report includes the first ever global homicide estimates specifically for children under 18 years of age — previous estimates were based on data that included 18 to-19-year olds. It finds that, in 2017, around 40,000 children were victims of homicide.

“Violence against children has always been pervasive, and now things could be getting much worse,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Lockdowns, school closures and movement restrictions have left far too many children stuck with their abusers, without the safe space that school would normally offer. It is urgent to scale up efforts to protect children during these times and beyond, including by designating social service workers as essential and strengthening child helplines.”

WHO and its partners will continue to work with countries to fully implement the INSPIRE strategies by enhancing coordination, developing and implementing national action plans, prioritising data collection, and strengthening legislative frameworks. Global action is needed to ensure that the necessary financial and technical support is available to all countries.

Monitoring and evaluation are crucial to determine the extent to which these prevention efforts are effectively delivered to all who need them.

“Ending violence against children is the right thing to do, a smart investment to make, and it’s possible. It is time to fully fund comprehensive national action plans that will keep children safe at home, at school, online and in their communities,” said Dr Howard Taylor, End Violence Partnership. “We can and must create a world where every child can thrive free from violence and become a new generation of adults to experience healthy and prosperous lives.”

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Published on June 19, 2020
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