UN report exposes acute prevalence of violence vs children PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 06 September 2014 11:38

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations on Thursday released the largest-ever compilation of data on violence against children, revealing for the first time the extent of violence faced by children around the world.

The new UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report, titled “Hidden in plain sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children,” found that about two thirds of children worldwide aged between two and 14, almost 1 billion, are subjected to physical punishment by their caregivers on a regular basis.

About 95,000 children died due to homicide in 2012 alone, yet worryingly, the place of highest incidence for violence against children was in the home and at the hands of caregivers, said the report which drew on data from 190 countries in order to shed light on a largely undocumented issue.

In fact, one fifth of homicide victims globally are children and adolescents under the age of 20 and slightly more than one in three students between the ages of 13 and 15 worldwide are regularly bullied in school, according to the report.

The report also included new figures on violent discipline, which it said is the most common form of violence against children, as well as on violence against girls — widespread rates of physical and sexual abuse.

Around 120 million girls under the age of 20 worldwide, about one in 10, have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts, and one in three ever-married adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 (84 million) have been victims of emotional, physical or sexual violence committed by their husbands or partners, said the report.

Perceptions on violence including shocking figures on children’ s views and reluctance to report abuse were also reported. Hence, changing attitudes with respect to violence against children starts with knowledge, said the report.

In the report, UNICEF named six strategies to enable society as a whole, from families to governments, to prevent and reduce violence against children. They included 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.

The report was released in the 25th anniversary year of United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guarantees all children have the right to be protected from violence.