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Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse

Experts debate solutions needed to #ENDviolence against children

The UNICEF Office of Research reached out to experts from around the globe, gathering more than 100 years of expertise in a video debate focused on finding solutions to the problem of violence against children.


By Ricardo Pires

UNICEF gathered a group of experts to discuss the many issues surrounding violence against children, and what can be done to recognize and prevent the problem. 

FLORENCE, Italy, 2 October 2013 – There is no country in the world that can say all its children are free from violence. The issue crosses social, economic and cultural lines, and it affects millions of children worldwide.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-2483/Kamber
A boy, 16, who lives and works on the streets in Côte d’Ivoire, remains scarred from a knife attack by another boy. Violence affects children in every country and at all levels of society.

Although data is difficult to collect, given the hidden nature of the issue, it’s estimated that about 20 per cent of women and 5 to 10 per cent of men report being sexually abused as children.

Recent research has deepened our understanding of violence against children and how it manifests itself in their lives. There is also greater consensus on solutions to the problem and what can be done to address it. And yet violence against children still lacks traction within the public policy agenda, and response mechanisms are not always effective. Why is this the case, and what can be done?

© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-0938/Noorani
In the foreground, a boy forced into sex work in a poor neighbourhood of Karachi, Pakistan. Globally, between 5 and 10 per cent of men report being sexually abused as children.

In an effort to address this issue and help provide some answers, the UNICEF Office of Research reached out to experts from around the globe and gathered more than 100 years of collective expertise for a video debate focused on the plight of violence against children.

The panel of experts discussed a number of topics, including the role of civil society, the accountability of governments, investment in public services and measures to prevent violence. Among the participants were Ms. Amie Kandeh, who works on issues of sexual violence with the International Rescue Committee in Sierra Leone; Mr. Oswaldo Montoya, Global Coordinator for the MenEngage Alliance; Ms. Nduku Kilonzo, Executive Director of Liverpool VCT Care and Treatment; and Ms. Diane Swales, UNICEF Child Protection Regional Advisor for East Asia and the Pacific.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2005-1320/Pirozzi
A child traumatized by the armed takeover of his school in Beslan, the Russian Federation, participates in art therapy at a UNICEF-assisted rehabilitation centre.

“Nation states took on an obligation when they signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Ms. Swales during the debate. “They have to take accountability ultimately for what happens in this territory. It doesn’t matter if it is a citizen or a non-citizen; if the person is a child, then that child merits protection. Who is accountable?”

View the debate here.






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