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Violence Against Children

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-2876/Pirozzi

No violence against children is justifiable, and all violence against children is preventable

Violence can take place in homes, schools, residential care facilities, on the streets, in the workplace, or in places of detention. Violence can mean anything from physical and psychological abuse to neglect or negligent treatment. It affects children’s physical and mental health, and impairs their ability to learn and to socialize. It is a violation of their human rights and may even undermine their development as functional adults and good parents later in life. In the most severe cases, violence against children may lead to injury and even death.

Violence against children happens everywhere, in every country and society and across all social groups. Extreme violence against children may hit headlines but children say that daily, repeated, small acts of violence and abuse also hurt them. Most violence is carried out by someone they know and should be able to trust such as their parents, relatives, boyfriends or girlfriends, schoolmates, teachers and employers. The central message of our work 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 deprivation of parental care, poverty, HIV infection, drug use, and homelessness overlap and reinforce one another. This has clearly been highlighted in the case of 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).

Last updated November 2013



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