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Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse

On International Day of Non-Violence, #ENDviolence against children

© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-2384/Pirozzi
Angel (name changed), 16, from the Philippines, attempted suicide after an employer physically and sexually abused her. She now lives in a local shelter and has pressed charges against her abuser.

NEW YORK, United States of America, 1 October, 2013 – The International Day of Non-Violence, held every year on 2 October, was created to commemorate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, whose philosophy and message of non-violence has inspired countless individuals and movements for freedom and civil rights.

This day encourages us all to renew commitments to #ENDviolence Against Children as we recognize the millions of children in every part of the world who experience violence on a daily basis – in schools, in communities and in their own homes, often behind closed doors and out of sight – and to consider the presence of violence in the lives of each and every one of us.

We all know someone who has been affected by some form of physical or emotional violence – whether bullying, battering, assault or abuse – and it is all of our responsibility to #ENDviolence against Children.

Violence affects children’s physical and mental health in many ways, both in the short term and in the long term. It impairs their ability to learn and to socialize, and it hinders their transition to adulthood, which can have numerous consequences later in life.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-1772/Markisz
At school in Colombia, a boy (centre) was bullied into giving away a toy. Alhough violence is everywhere, it is not inevitable, and each of us has a role to play in ending it.

In many cases, violence and abuse against children is practised by someone known to the child, such as a parent, family member, caretaker, teacher, employer or authority figure – and sometimes by other children. Only a small number of incidents are ever reported and investigated, and few perpetrators are held accountable.

We know conclusively that violence against children is not inevitable, nor is it justifiable or tolerable simply because we think it is impossible to avoid or prevent.

There are steps that we can take to prevent violence in a short period of time:

• Get informed about violence against children and use what you learn to raise awareness, transform attitudes and encourage others to take action.
• Find other people working on these issues and form a network so you have a bigger voice to speak out against violence and its causes in your own community.
• Report acts of violence so that leaders and policy makers can see and understand its scale, and so you have evidence to demand attention and action ‘to make the invisible visible’.
• Lobby your local and national representatives for effective laws – not just that they are written, but that they are implemented with real accountability!

The #ENDviolence Against Children initiative demonstrates that there are solutions, especially those that come through connecting and engaging with people to tackle the roots causes of violence against children. This effort requires the commitment and involvement of everyone to prevent harm from happening in the first place, and to address it when it does.



UNICEF Photography: Making the invisible visible

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