Violence against children

UNICEF aims to reduce violence at home, at school, in communities and online, and to break the silence around this hidden epidemic

UNICEF Montenegro / Dusko Miljanic / 2018

Violence is present everywhere – at home, in schools, in institutions, on the streets.
Violence not only harms children, it destroys the very essence of society, and has a negative impact on the wellbeing of families and communities and the socio-economical development of the country.
To prevent and protect children from violence, UNICEF is working on strengthening the capacities of the country to provide coordinated and efficient support to ensure all children are free from violence and other forms of exploitation.
UNICEF is working on strengthening cooperation between various sectors that deal with children – in healthcare, education and social protection, but also in the areas of justice and law enforcement – in order to prevent violence and to address situations in which violence against children has occurred.

One in two citizens finds corporal punishment of children acceptable and believes that yelling at a child is not violence.

UNICEF Montenegro / Dusko Miljanic / 2017

Violence against children is one of the key challenges for children in Montenegro – in 2013, more than two-thirds (68%) of Montenegro’s children aged 1–14 years were subjected to psychological aggression within the family during the month preceding a household survey and 31% were subjected to physical punishment. The nationally representative Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey on violence against children in Montenegro conducted in late 2017 confirmed high levels of tolerance towards violence against children. Systemic support is mostly provided in a reactive manner in crisis situations. Many professionals lack the necessary knowledge, and their work procedures are not sufficiently standardized, which often results in secondary victimization.

Roma girls and boys experience higher rates of violence and are the only section of society affected by child marriage and early childbearing. In 2013 in Roma and Egyptian households, more than a quarter (28.1 percent) of women aged 15–19, and 16.5 percent of men, were married or in a union, and 41 per cent of women and 53 per cent of men agreed that a husband is sometimes justified in hitting or beating his wife. The study “The Prevention of Child Marriage in Montenegro: Challenges, Lessons Learnt and a Theory of Change”, which was developed by the NGO Centre for Roma Initiatives with UNICEF and EU support, revealed a number of challenges, such as the absence of a clear definition of child marriage, suboptimal inter-departmental coordination and capacities especially with regard to human rights and victim-centric approaches, a limited budget and evidence base for community mobilization initiatives aimed at transforming negative social norms.