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Swaziland, 26 May 2014: Ending violence against children: Translating data into action

26 May 2014, Mbabane, Swaziland – Ways to translate data on violence against boys and girls into concrete measures to stop it will be discussed at a global meeting to be held in the capital of Swaziland, 28-30 May 2014.

The meeting is organized by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland, UNICEF and the Together for Girls partnership, with support from the U.S government, under the theme: ‘From research to action: Advancing prevention and response to violence against children’. It brings together key government and civil society representatives from 20 countries as well as experts from multiple sectors working on the topics of social protection and violence prevention and response.

The participating countries, mostly from Africa but also Asia and the Caribbean, are already testing and implementing strategies to prevent and respond to violence against children with support from Together for Girls’ partners, including UNICEF and the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. 

“Violence against children not only violates the rights of children but also brings long-term pain to the victims and their families thereby undermining their potential for national development,” said Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of Swaziland, Senator Paul Dlamini.

The Government of Swaziland spearheaded this global work to end violence against children in 2007, in partnership with UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when it undertook the first national-level household survey on adolescent girls’ experience of sexual violence. The survey discovered a number of negative short- and long-term consequences, from increased risk for HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies to alcohol abuse and suicide.

The success of this collaboration led to the formation of the public-private partnership, Together for Girls, which enabled additional countries to conduct national surveys on violence against children and use the data to mobilize a strong national response across sectors.

“Violence against children is not only a severe human rights violation, it’s also a public health issue of vast proportions,” said Gary Cohen, Together for Girls Founder and Executive Vice President at BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company). “It’s an underlying driver of many of the world’s most intractable health problems, which has not been widely understood.” 

To date, nine countries have undertaken national surveys and are in various stages of implementing a response. Seven other countries are making preparations to begin the process. In sub-Saharan Africa, the surveys have found about 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys experienced sexual violence and more than half of both boys and girls experienced physical violence prior to age 18.

“To end the global problem of violence against children, we need to know more about where it is occurring and why — and then use that data to change minds and behaviours, and to drive action by governments and communities themselves,” said Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection. “Every child has the right to live free from violence and abuse, and every one of us has a responsibility to help children everywhere to realize that right.”

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Note to editors:  
The 20 countries which will be participating in the meeting are: Botswana, Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

About Together for Girls 
Together for Girls is a global public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, with a focus on sexual violence against girls. Together for Girls generates comprehensive data on the magnitude and consequences of this public health and human rights issue on a scale that never existed before, mobilizing countries to lead a response and inform solutions that are evidence-based.

The partnership includes five UN agencies, the U.S. government and the private sector. Our UN partners are led by UNICEF and include UNAIDS, UN Women, WHO and UNFPA. The U.S. government is represented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Violence Prevention (CDC/DVP); the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and its partners; USAID; and the Department of State’s Office of Global Women's Issues. Our private sector partners are Grupo ABC, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), the CDC Foundation and the Nduna Foundation.

For more information about Together for Girls and its work, visit: www.togetherforgirls.org 

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

For further information, please contact:

Madeline Eisner, UNICEF (on mission in Swaziland), +1 917 257 9616, meisner@unicef.org 

Sandie Taylor, Together for Girls, (on mission in Swaziland), +1 202 870 0430, sandie@togetherforgirls.org

Nonhlanhla Hleta-Nkambule, UNICEF Swaziland, +268 7602 7591, nnkumbule@unicef.org

Najwa Mekki, UNICEF NY, +1 212 326 7448, +1 917 209 1804, nmekki@unicef.org 

 

 
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