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On Universal Children’s Day, Indonesia launches campaign #ENDviolence against Children

 “Stop violence against children – it’s everyone’s business”

JAKARTA, 20 November 2013 – As the world marks Universal Children’s Day - the anniversary of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child – Indonesia is joining the global initiative #End Violence against Children. The campaign was launched on 20 November in Jakarta by the Ministries of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Social Affairs as well as Communication and Information Technology together with UNICEF Indonesia. 

UNICEF started rolling out the campaign globally earlier this year to shine a much stronger light on the millions of children all around the world who are victims of violence and abuse and to make prevention a cornerstone of all efforts to address such violations of children’s rights.

“In Indonesia like in any other country, too often, abuse occurs in the shadows: undetected, unreported, and - even worse – too often accepted,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative and Officer in Charge, Marc Lucet, on Wednesday. “We all have a responsibility to ‘make the invisible, visible’ – including the Government that needs to strengthen and enforce legislation to prohibit all violence against children as well as individuals whom we encourage to speak up when they witnesses abuse. Silence is not acceptable, let’s act now.”  

Violence against children takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and harsh disciplinary practices such as corporal punishment. Violence can inflict both physical harm and psychological damage on children. “Violence against children also undermines the fabric of society, affecting productivity, well-being, and prosperity,” said Lucet. “No society can afford to ignore violence against children.”

In Indonesia no national data on violence against children is available. Existing studies, while being limited to selected districts and provinces, however provide a clear indication that many children in the country are exposed to violence. In a 2009 survey in Aceh, Papua, Central Java, and East Nusa Tenggara provinces, high proportions of 10 to 18 year olds reported having experienced violence in various forms. And in a 2011 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey in three districts in Papua province, between 67 and 79 per cent of children under the age of 15 said they have been physically punished, with 24 to 31 per cent being even exposed to severe physical punishment. In many cases, those in charge of protecting children – parents, other care givers, teachers, etc. are the perpetrators of such violence. 

The Government responded to the lack of data by undertaking a national survey on the prevalence of physical, emotional and sexual violence against boys and girls, the first of its kind in Indonesia. As part of the study, social workers – with support from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF, already surveyed more than 10,000 households in 25 provinces. The study is coordinated by the. Results and related recommendations will be published next year.

Indonesia adopted a number of laws addressing violence against children, including the 2002 Law on Child Protection. While stipulating that children need to be protected from violence, it does not explicitly prohibit physical punishment. In its latest state report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, dated October 201, however, the Government announced plans to develop “national and regional regulations that prohibit all forms of physical and psychological punishment of children at home and in schools.” 

Global experience shows that violence against children can be prevented effectively, for instance by supporting vulnerable families, by strengthening children’s skills to help protect themselves as well as by working to change attitudes and social norms that tolerate violence and discrimination.

In Indonesia, UNICEF is supporting a number of prevention and response programmes. Noting that the cycle of violence goes over generations, UNICEF in collaboration with the Provincial Office of Women’s Empowerment in South Sulawesi is developing training modules for parents and communities to address the inter-generational impact of violence against children. In Papua, UNICEF is supporting a safe schools programme that prompts teachers to take up new methods for instilling positive and non-violent discipline in the classroom. 

“Teachers are role models for children,” said Marc Lucet. “If a teacher hits a student, the message to other children is: This is ok. This is an acceptable way of solving problems. But violence begets violence. That’s why we launch this campaign today. We are saying: No violence against children is justifiable. Ending violence is everyone’s business.”

The campaign #End Violence against Children aims to raise awareness among the public in Indonesia on what violence does to individual children and the whole society. It includes a Bahasa Indonesia version of the global public service announcement of the campaign recorded by UNICEF Indonesia Goodwill Ambassador Ferry Salim that will be distributed through online channels. 

As part of the campaign UNICEF Indonesia and its government partners will also use social media channels to ask the public what they think should be done to prevent violence against children. 

UNICEF is also recognizing the important work of Child Helpline International (CHI), a global network comprising 173 member telephone helplines in 141 countries that celebrates its 10th anniversary today.  The Indonesia helpline TeSA 129 which is coordinated by the Ministries of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Social Affairs, and Communication and Information Technology as well as Telkom, is a member of CHI. In a global report released today, CHI says that violence, abuse and neglect are among the top reasons that children and young people contact child helplines, amounting to 17 per cent of all contacts over the last 10 years.

Note to Editors
Universal Children’s Day also marks the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which this year celebrates its 24th anniversary.  The UN Convention, adopted in 1989, became the first legally binding international convention to affirm human rights for all children. It specifies that every child, everywhere, has the right to survive, grow and be protected from all forms of violence.

In 1954, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the first Universal Children’s Day and encouraged all nations to observe an annual day to promote mutual understanding among children and global action on their behalf.  20 November, observed as Universal Children’s Day by many countries, marks the day on which the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

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/indonesia

For further information, please contact:

Michael Klaus, Chief of Communication, Resource and Mobilisation, UNICEF Indonesia, mklaus@unicef.org, +62 811 1669 033

Nuraini Razak, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Indonesia. nrazak@unicef.org, +62 811 9201 654

 

 
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