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States fail to prevent violence against children

 

The Global Status Report on Preventing Violence against Children calls on states to do more and warns of the “profound impact” of the coronavirus. Half of the world’s children, or nearly 1 billion children, are subjected to physical, sexual, and psychological violence, resulting in injuries, disability, or death because states have failed to follow the approved strategy to protect them.

 

This is stated in a new report published by the collaboration of World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, UNESCO, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the issues of child violence and “End Violence”.

 

“Violence against children can never be justified,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. To prevent this, we have evidence tools and call on all states to implement them. Protecting children’s health and maintaining well-being plays a key role in protecting our collective health and maintaining well-being both today and in the future. ”

 

The report is the first of its kind to present progress in 155 countries under the INSPIRE program, which is a series of seven strategies to prevent violence against children and to respond to violence against children. The report sees a clear need to promote steps in this direction in all countries. For  instance,  the  report  shows  that  on  average, 88% of countries have laws in place  for  preventing  violence  against  children,  but  just  47%  of  government  respondents  felt  that  these  laws  were  being  enforced  strongly  enough  to  ensure  violators  would  be  penalized. 

 

The report provides, for the first time, data on homicides among children under the age of 18 worldwide. Previous estimates included data on 18-19 year olds. According to the report, about 40,000 children were killed in 2017.

 

“There has always been violence against children, and now things can get worse,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Forr. Due to the restrictions on “self-isolation, school closures and movement”, too many children have been left next to abusers who are deprived of safe places such as school. It is necessary to make great efforts both during and after this period to protect children, including by giving priority to social workers and by strengthening the hot lines of support provided to children.”

 

In general, progress is unequal.

 

Only one of the strategies of the “INSPIRE” program, the launch of school admission through registration, is the biggest progress. Thus, 54% of countries reported that a large number of children in need were found in this way. Children in 32% to 37% of countries who have been victims of violence can use support services. At the same time, 26% of the countries provided support programs to parents and guardians. 21% of the states have implemented programs to change harmful behaviors, and 15% have implemented changes to ensure safe places for children.

 

Although the majority of countries (83%) have national action plans and policies, only 21% of them are fully funded or have measurable (digital) targets. Lack of funding, along with insufficient professional support, are likely contributing factors to the slow pace of project implementation.

 

The fight against coronavirus and its impact on children.

 

Measures to stay at home, including closing schools, have limited the source of support for families and individuals, such as friends, relatives, or professionals. This further reduces the victim’s ability to successfully cope with the crisis and the new routine of everyday life. The number of phone calls to children and hotlines about violence against their partners has increased.

 

Both online platforms are very important for children’s learning, support and play, and there has been an increase in sexual abuse, including cyberbullying, dangerous online behavior, and sexual exploitation.

 

“Stopping violence against children is what needs to be done. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there. It’s time to fully fund comprehensive national action plans that will enable children to be safe at home, at school, online, and in their communities, ”said Howard Taylor. “We need to create a world where every child can be free from violence and become part of a new generation of adults to live a healthy and prosperous life.”

 

Note:

 

The data of the report were collected in 2018-2019. Through a survey of more than 1,000 officials from 155 countries. Launched in 2016, INSPIRE calls for legislation to enforce laws, change behavior and values ​​to make violence unacceptable, create a safe environment for children, support parents and guardians, stabilize incomes, provide economic stability, improve victims Provide feedback services, provide children with education and life skills.

 

According to UNICEF Armenia office statement

 

The text of the report and summary is available here (password: 490759)

 

Only data about Armenia in Armenian are available here.

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