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Regional Consultation on Violence against Children Starts in Slovenia

BAKU, July 5, 2005 – Violence against in Europe and Central Asia is the focus of a major consultation that starts today in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The consultation - hosted by the Government of Slovenia and co-organised by the Council of Europe, UNICEF, WHO, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the NGO Advisory Panel - is one of nine planned worldwide that will feed into a major study by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan,  on Violence Against Children due out in 2006. It will bring together experts, academics, practitioners and children with the aim of mobilising, motivating and putting in place a political agenda for change. The Study is headed by Prof Paulo Sergio Pinheiro who will address the assembly in Ljubljana.

Delegations from all over the region will confront some harsh home truths, literally and figuratively: the home is not always the safest place for a child. In the European Region alone, four children aged 0-14-years are killed every day - or over 1,300 every year - as a result of homicides or assaults.

Region-wide, what few data there are, speak for itself:

• The risk of homicide is about three times greater for children under the age of one than for those aged 1-4. That age group, in turn, faces double the risk of those aged 5-14.
• Studies carried out in 14 European countries put the rate of sexual abuse both within and outside the family at 9 per cent: 33 per cent for girls and 3 to 15 per cent for boys; in Slovenia there were 26 reported cases of sexual abuse by those in a position of power in 2004.
• Girls are more often bullied than boys. Boys carry out 85 per cent of the attacks. There are very few studies on girls as bullies. Eighty per cent of violence is carried out by the 12-16 age group.
• In Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova there is no explicit ban on corporal punishment in institutions.
• Gang violence has risen steeply in Eastern Europe. In the Russian Federation, homicide rates for young people aged 10-24 rose by over 150 per cent after the collapse of communism. Shootings more than doubled in Azerbaijan, Latvia and the Russian Federation.

A second conference will follow in the same venue focusing on sexual exploitation of children (8 and 9 July). Organised by the Council of Europe, it will look at new threats to children - such as the use of mobile phones to distribute pornography - and discuss new ways to combat sexual exploitation.

The Azerbaijan delegation to Slovenia includes representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Youth Sports and Tourism, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, NGOs and parliament.

UNICEF will host a round table discussion about the results of the consultation and the issue of violence upon the return of the Azerbaijan delegation.

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UNICEF works in 157 countries and territories around the world. Its programmes cover education, health, water and sanitation and the protection of children. UNICEF also advocates with governments for inclusive policies, budgets, and programmes to protect and promote the rights of children, and to ensure that children have a voice in their own futures.

For further information please contact:
Ayna Mollazade, Communication Officer
Tel:  99412 492 3013
Fax: 99412 492 2468
Email: amollazade@unicef.org

For the Regional Consultation’s resource package on violence against children in Europe and Central Asia please visit http://www.violencestudy.org/europe-ca

 

 
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