Violence Against Children
Violence against children includes:
Violence may take place in homes, schools, residential care facilities, on the streets, in the workplace, or in places of detention. Violence affects children`s physical and mental health, impair their ability to learn and socialize. It is a violation of their human rights and may undermine their development as functional adults and good parents later in life. In the most severe cases, violence against children leads to death.
Violence against children happens everywhere, in every country and society and across all social groups (1). Extreme violence against children may hit headlines but children say that daily, repeated, small acts of violence and abuse also hurt them. Most is carried out by someone they know and should be able to trust: their parents, relatives, boyfriends or girlfriends, schoolmates, teachers and employers. The central message of the study is that no violence against children is justifiable, and all violence against children is preventable.
In this region, violence is often a story of exclusion and one where vulnerabilities such as the deprevation of parental care, poverty, HIV infection, drug use, homelessness - overlap and compound each others. This has clearly been highlighted with HIV infection in a recent UNICEF report - Blame and Banishment. A survey carried out in 2008 in Romania also showed that nearly a quarter of female sex workers aged 25 years or younger had never been enrolled in school, and a disproportionate number were from the Roma ethnic group (27 per cent).
What is know from research?
In Serbia, 72 per cent of children (aged 2–14 years old) experience psychological or physical punishment; while 19 percent experience only non-violent discipline and 7 per cent experienced severe physical punishment. (2)
In Turkey, in 23 per cent of 1,800 children aged 10–18 reported experiencing physical punishment by their parents; this was more common for children under 14 years of age.(3)
In Moldova, 25 per cent of children surveyed (aged 10-18) stated that their parents beat them, one third of children declare that teachers verbally attacked them and 13 per cent that teachers physically abused them.(4)
In Georgia, 17 per cent of children surveyed reported being sexually abused in an institutional setting as oppose to 8 per cent at home and 6 per cent at school (5).
In Albania, research interviews with 35 children in detention centres revealed widespread use of torture by police officers during arrest and investigation (6). Interviews with juveniles in prisons revealed that corporal punishment was commonly used as disciplinary punishment in that setting.(7)
In Ukraine, Russia, Albania, Moldova and other Eastern European countries, increasing numbers of young people fall victim to forced prostitution at ever younger ages and all the countries involved - whether origin, transit or destination - are members of the Council of Europe.(8)
1. UN Global Study on Violence against Children (2006).
2. Multiple Indicators Survey (UNICEF) (2005).
3. Erkman, Fatos (2003), A paper presented at the Society for Cross Cultural Research Conference, South Carolina, February 2003, cited in Violence Against Children in Europe, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, 2005, p. 7
4. Study on violence against children in Moldova, UNICEF, Ministry of Education and Youth of the Republic of Moldova, Ministry of Social Protection, Family and Child of the Republic of Moldova, 2006-07, pp. 14-15.
5. UNICEF (2002), `Child Abuse in Residential Care Institutions: A National Survey` (Bucharest: UNICEF), cited in Violence Against Children in Europe, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, 2005, p. 8
6. Hazizaj, A & Thornton Barkley, S (2000), `Awaiting Trial: A Report on the Situation of Children in Albanian Police Stations and Pre-trial Detention Centres` (Children’s Human Rights Centre of Albania), cited in Violence Against Children in Europe, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, 2005, p. 8
7. Coku, B & Kotorri, V (2000), `Juveniles in Albanian Prisons: A Report on the Situation of Juveniles in Albanian Prisons`Children’s Human Rights Centre of Albania), cited in Violence Against Children in Europe, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, 2005, p. 8
8. Council of Europe, `A Campaign against trafficking in children to put a stop to the east European route: The example of Moldova Doc.9112`, 5 June 2001, cited in Violence Against Children in Europe, UNICEF Innocenti Research Center, 2005, p. 11
Protecting children from violence in South East Europe
UN Secretary General's Study on Violence against Children
Download the report [PDF]