Structural violence against children in South Asia

A desk review

Afghanistan, Kabul: Boy who lives in a camp for internally displaced people. They are originally from Helmand Province, but were forced to leave because of ongoing fighting.


The main objective of this desk review is to look at structural violence against children and adolescents in South Asia as well as institutional responses in the region. There have been some important and ground-breaking global efforts to address violence against children and adolescents,  such as the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. Stemming from decades of research on violence against children, the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Campaign for Violence Prevention has put forth a typology of violence that categorizes it into three sub-types according to the victim-perpetrator relationship: self-directed violence; interpersonal violence; and collective violence.

Common across studies on violence against children is a focus on describing its visible and direct nature, especially on risk factors. It is now evident that there is a gap in our knowledge of the determinants of these risk factors – that is, the invisible and indirect factors underlying direct violence. In the global literature, this indirect form of violence is known as ‘structural violence’.

In order to be able to understand violence against children holistically, it is crucial to pay attention to structural violence as an important component underlying all forms of violence, particularly interpersonal violence. Thus, this review is a first step towards synthesizing material on structural violence and its relationship with interpersonal violence in South Asia.

Cover image Structural violence against children in South Asia


UNICEF South Asia

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