New report exposes violence against children

9th May 2014

It's About Us Safety from Harm

The largest-ever compilation of data on violence against children shows the staggering extent of physical, sexual and emotional abuse — and reveals the attitudes that perpetuate and justify violence, keeping it ‘hidden in plain sight’ in every country and community in the world.

“These are uncomfortable facts — no government or parent will want to see them,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “But unless we confront the reality each infuriating statistic represents — the life of a child whose right to a safe, protected childhood has been violated — we will never change the mindset that violence against children is normal and permissible. It is neither. “

The UNICEF report “Hidden in Plain Sight” draws on data from 190 countries, documenting violence in places where children should be safe: their communities, schools and homes. It details the lasting, often inter-generational effects of violence, finding that exposed children are more likely to become unemployed, live in poverty and be violent towards others. The authors note that the data is derived only from individuals who were able and willing to respond, and therefore represent minimum estimates.

Major findings include:

UNICEF points to six strategies to enable society as a whole, from families to governments, to prevent and reduce violence against children. They include supporting parents and equipping children with life skills; changing attitudes; strengthening judicial, criminal and social systems and services; and generating evidence and awareness about violence and its human and socio-economic costs, in order to change attitudes and norms.

“Violence against children occurs every day, everywhere. And while it harms individual children the most, it also tears at the fabric of society — undermining stability and progress. But violence against children is not inevitable. It is preventable — if we refuse to let violence remain in the shadows,” Lake said. “The evidence in this report compels us to act — for the sake of those individual children and the future strength of societies around the world.”

Download the Full Report

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