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Violence against children

UNICEF photo: A prison for girls and women, Haiti.

© UNICEF/HQ05-1931/LeMoyne

A prison for girls and women, Haiti.

Why this study?
Every day, in every country, girls and boys suffer and witness violence. Violence against children cuts across boundaries of culture, class, education, income and ethnic origin, and occurs in many different settings. Some of it is allowed by national laws and may be rooted in cultural, economic and social practices. This has devastating consequences for children's health and well-being. It is clear that children cannot be kept waiting for the prevention and protection to which they have an unqualified right. The United Nations General Assembly asked the Secretary-General to conduct an in-depth study on violence against children and to make recommendations to respond to it. An Independent Expert, Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, was appointed in February 2003 to direct the study, in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.