Ending violence against children
UNICEF believes that violence against children cannot be considered acceptable, and through active collaboration all cases of violence can be prevented
The findings of the research conducted by UNICEF together with the local authorities in Kazakhstan showed that about 75% of adults support corporal punishment to control the behavior of their children. Every second child aged between 2-14 is subjected to violent forms of discipline in the family. Two thirds of schoolchildren experienced or witnessed violence or discrimination by peers or teachers. High levels of violence are observed in boarding schools and schools for children experiencing behavioral difficulties.
A rather narrow understanding of the term “violence”, which is often limited exclusively to physical impact, is a serious obstacle to its eradication. It is not customary to refer bullying, psychological pressure or verbal abuse to violence. UNICEF sees as its goal to correct the “violence” perception in society, raise awareness of its negative consequences, reject and combat all its forms at all levels, as well as eradicate any kind of violent treatment of children from the culture of education
To achieve the goals of preventing and eradicating all forms of violence against children, it is important to implement a series of strategies. At the prevention level, it is necessary to enforce legislation prohibiting all forms of violence against children, including corporal punishment. It is also important to develop parenting skills for raising children without violence through services such as home visits and positive parenting programs. Children need special programs in pre-schools and schools as well as additional training facilities.
At the response level, it is important to create the system of mandatory reporting of violence against children to authorized bodies; to introduce additional responsible persons in the protection of children’s rights to improve its efficiency; to develop a clear coordination and effective interaction between the authorized bodies; to train professionals in handling cases of violence against children, as well as to develop guidelines for implementing measures to respond to violence in education, health care, social protection, law enforcement and judicial authorities.
It is important to pay attention to raising awareness of professionals and public about violence against children, including risk factors, signs of violence and negative consequences of violence against children. In addition, there is a need to further improve the collection of administrative data on all forms of violence against children to track the status and progress dynamics.
In 2013-2017, UNICEF together with the authorized bodies, run a pilot program to prevent violence in schools. The goal was to prevent violence before it occurs by developing psychosocial skills among students, as well as by developing mechanisms to respond to risk factors and committed acts of violence. The developed methodology was tested in schools in the East Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda and Mangystau regions and proved its effectiveness. Now, with the support of the National Academy of Education, this methodology will be implemented in the standards and competencies of the education system.
Supported by UNICEF, the prevention of violence and neglect of the needs of children has become the responsibility of visiting nurses who, through family visits, inform about positive parenting methods and respond if they notice that the child is at risk of or experiencing abusive treatment in the family.
In 2018, UNICEF, together with the authorized bodies, launched a communication campaign to prevent violence against children. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of parents, as well as the public, about the inadmissibility of violent methods in the upbringing and education of children, changing approaches, norms and attitudes in this matter.
Together with the authorized bodies, work is underway to improve legislation and to develop protocols to identify, report, register and respond to cases of violence against children.