Worldwide 300 million children suffer from violent methods of upbringing - UNICEF

01 November 2017
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BISHKEK/NEW YORK, 1 November 2017 – Three-quarters of the world’s 2- to 4-year-old children – around 300 million – experience psychological aggression and/or physical punishment by their caregivers at home, UNICEF said in a new report A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents released today. Every 7 minutes a teenager dies from violent death in the world.

“The harm inflicted on children around the world is truly worrying,” - said UNICEF Chief of Child Protection Cornelius Williams. “Babies slapped in the face; girls and boys forced into sexual acts; adolescents murdered in their communities – violence against children spares no one and knows no boundaries.”

“Violence against children is a problem in every society and it happens in families, schools and institutions. It could be violent discipline, psychological aggression, physical punishment, child trafficking, economic and sexual exploitation, child marriage,“ - explains Munir Mammadzade, Deputy Representative of UNICEF Kyrgyzstan. "In Kyrgyzstan, 57 per cent of children are physically punished at home. Victims and witnesses of child abuse could call the hotline 111, established by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and use the services provided by centers helping children affected by violence in Bishkek, Talas, Karakol and Tyup,"- he added.

A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents uses the very latest data to show that children experience violence across all stages of childhood and in all settings:

Violence against young children in their homes: 

  • Three-quarters of the world’s 2- to 4-year-old children – around 300 million – experience psychological aggression and/or physical punishment by their caregivers at home;  
  • Around 6 in 10 one year olds in 30 countries with available data are subjected to violent discipline on a regular basis. Nearly a quarter of one-year-olds are physically shaken as punishment and nearly 1 in 10 are hit or slapped on the face, head or ears. 
  • Worldwide, 1 in 4 children under age five – 177 million – are living with a mother who is a victim of intimate partner violence. 

Sexual violence against girls and boys:

  • Worldwide, around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts in their lifetime. 
  • Only 1 per cent of adolescent girls who had experienced sexual violence said they reached out for professional help. 
  • In the 28 countries with data, 90 per cent of adolescent girls who had experienced forced sex, on average, said the perpetrator of the first incident was known to them. Data from six countries reveals friends, classmates and partners were among the most frequently cited perpetrators of sexual violence against adolescent boys. 

Violent deaths among adolescents:

  • Globally, every 7 minutes an adolescent is killed by an act of violence.    

Violence in schools:

  • Half the population of school-age children – 732 million – live in countries where corporal punishment at school is not fully prohibited. 

UNICEF prioritizes efforts to end violence across all its work, including supporting government efforts to improve services for children affected by violence, developing policies and legislation that protect children, and helping communities, parents and children to prevent violence through practical programmes like parenting courses and actions against domestic violence. To end violence against children, UNICEF is calling for governments to take urgent action, including:

  • Establishing national plans to reduce violence against children – incorporating education, social welfare, justice and health systems, as well as communities and children themselves.
  • Changing behaviours of adults and addressing factors that contribute to violence against children, including economic and social inequities, social and cultural norms that condone violence, inadequate policies and legislation, insufficient services for victims, and limited investments in effective systems to prevent and respond to violence. 
  • Focussing national policies on minimizing violent behaviour, reducing inequalities, and limiting access to firearms and other weapons. 
  • Building social service systems and training social workers to provide referrals, counselling and therapeutic services for children who have experienced violence.
  • Educating children, parents, teachers, and community members to recognize violence in all its many forms and empowering them to speak out and report violence safely.
  • Collecting better disaggregated data on violence against children. 

Media contacts

Veronika Vashchenko
Chief of Communication
UNICEF Kyrgyzstan
Tel: +996 777 919 142


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