Protection from violence, exploitation and abuse.
Rates of violence against children in Pacific Island Countries are among the highest in the world.
Violence can come in many forms: physical and emotional abuse at home and in schools, peer bullying and fighting in schools as well as sexual abuse.
The Pacific has among the highest rates of domestic violence in the world, which has a direct and indirect negative impact on children: witnessing domestic violence amounts to emotional abuse and parents engaged in a violent relationship are more likely to be harsh or to neglect their children.
As a result of customary adoption practices and migration to urbanised areas, a significant number of children do not live with their biological parents, which, in some cases, may heighten the risk of neglect, abuse and exploitation. Adolescents are adopting risky behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse, inappropriate use of the internet and breaking the law.
Family violence and sexual abuse are often not addressed or quietly settled informally as family and community harmony prevail over individuals’ well-being and rights.
UNICEF Pacific aims to protect children against all forms of violence, including neglect, abuse, exploitation, separation from parents and any form of harm to their well-being and development, through strengthening child protection systems.
We are doing this by working in partnership with the governments and civil society organisations to:
- Include child protection laws and policies based on international standards;
- Provide capacity building to each of the five sectors including social welfare, judiciary, police, health and education; and
- Build commitment from partners to plan and implement actions to address violence against children.