Ending violence against children

Every child has the right to be protected from violence

girl in an yard

The challenge

Violence threatens not only children’s survival and health, but also their emotional well-being and future prospects. Violence experienced or witnessed by a child at an early age, when the brain and body are at a crucial stage of development, can cause lifelong damage. It affects children’s physical and mental health, compromises their ability to learn and socialize, and undermines their development as functional adults and good parents later in life. 

Violence against children at home is a social norm and not frowned upon, even when it occurs in public. While few parents in Moldova believe that violence is necessary to raise a child, almost half still believe that beating is an acceptable form of discipline and 16 per cent of parents admit to beating a child younger than one year. 

Poverty and poor living conditions, alcohol consumption, and the migration of parents where children are left behind, are increasing the risk of children being neglected, abused, or exploited.

Approximately 75 per cent of children experience some form of physical and psychological violence.

Cases of violence are rarely reported to the authorities, services for victims are limited, and consequently, these boys and girls rarely receive the assistance they need. Moreover, few parents have the necessary knowledge and skills to bring up their children in a positive manner.

Child abandonment and institutionalization are also forms of violence, and children in institutions are thought to be particularly vulnerable. 

Violence is also found in schools. There are concerns about bullying, with almost 60% of adolescents participating at least once in a fight in the last year and/or say they have been harassed at least once in the last few months.

More than one third of Moldovan students 13-15 year old say they have participated at least once in a fight in the last year or have been harassed at least once in the last few months.

The solution

UNICEF’s work in Moldova supports the building of strong national child protection systems that work in the best interests of all children, including the most vulnerable. Our work to strengthen child protection focuses on three key areas: keeping families together, access to justice and the prevention of violence against children.