Child Protection




Child protection
© UNICEF Indonesia/2012


Violence against children, including physical, sexual and emotional violence, as well as neglect, remains a prevalent problem throughout Indonesia. It impairs children’s cognitive development and perpetuates inequities. 

Key Facts & Figures

  • 1 in 9 girls is married before the age of 18 years (or 11 % of women were married before 18 years)
  • 21 % of students between 13 and 17 years of age experiencing bullying at school
  • 31 % of children are without birth registration
  • 38 % of children don’t know where to report violence
  • Half a million children are living in residential care 

Harmful social and cultural norms, for example child marriage, impact daily on the protection of children. Around one in four girls are married by the age of 18 years; the prevalence varies by region, but remains high throughout the country. Studies from Indonesia, including from the Government’s National Statistics Bureau (BPS), show that married girls are more likely to not complete their education and may face an increased risk of intimate partner violence.

Children who experience violence are generally at higher risk of dropping out of school. The most recent Global School Based Student Health Survey (WHO, 2015) identified national rates of bullying of students aged 13 to 17 years at 20.6 per cent, with boys more likely than girls to be bullied (23.7 per cent and 17.7 per cent respectively). Outside of Java and Sumatra, rates are higher at 26.4 per cent (30.5 per cent for boys and 22.5 per cent for girls).

The use of violence at home is also an issue. 26 per cent of children have experienced abuse in their homes. 

More than 30 per cent of children do not have their births registered, making them invisible in national planning. These children are deprived of their fundamental right to an identity which can prevent them from accessing health services, education and social protection in the future.

While laws and policy have been strengthened, there are still gaps in law and not all laws consistently define children as under 18 years of age. Most children do not know where to report violence or how to ask for help.

The rate of child imprisonment is relatively high, but some progress has been made by the implementation of the 2012 Juvenile Justice Act which has helped reduce the rate of imprisonment to under 30 per cent.

More than half a million children live in orphanges yet 90 per cent of them still have at least one parent alive. Integrated child and family welfare services are the key to enhancing the capacity of social workers, parents and community members to ensure violence-free environments for children, however are not accessible for all children.

The economic costs of violence against children

The impact of violence has a lasting and long term impact on Indonesia’s future human capital, undermining growth and prosperity. Regionally, violence against children is estimated to cost, at a minimum, 2 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually. The estimated cost to the Indonesian economy of lost revenue due to child marriage was 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2015 or IDR 171 billion. 



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