BANGKOK, 17 May 2019 – UNICEF and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) today launched a campaign urging Thai public to call government’s Helpline 1300 if they suspect child abuse or any forms of violence against children. The campaign, “One Thousand Nightmares Can End with Your One Voice”, is aimed at increasing the public’s knowledge of the helpline and promoting public participation in ending violence against children in Thailand.
The 1300 Social Assistance Centre is a 24-hour service operated by MSDHS to receive reports related to social problems, including child abuse, neglect and exploitation. The call centre connects and locates vulnerable children with appropriate child protection services such as emergency rescue, medical and social service referral, professional counselling and psychosocial support for the child and his or her family.
According to the Ministry of Public Health which collected data from 622 hospitals across Thailand, nearly 9,000 children were treated in hospitals due to physical and sexual abuse in 2017. These cases are likely to be just a tip of the iceberg, as often only the most severe cases of abuse are reported. At the same time, data by the National Statistical Office in 2015-2016 found that some 4 pecent of children between 1 and 14 years old, or equivalent to 470,000 children, had experienced severe physical punishment at home. However, only some 1,200 cases a year on average are reported to Helpline 1300.
“Violence has left too many children living with nightmares days after days,” said Thomas Davin, UNICEF Representative for Thailand. “But those nightmares can be stopped if members of the public who suspect or witness child abuse intervene or pick up the phone and report the cases.”
Violence can pose a lifelong devastating impact on children’s health and well-being. In addition to physical injuries, violence affects children’s brain development, impairs their ability to learn an socialize, while increases their chances in engaging in risky behavior and perpetrating violence themselves as adults. Children who have suffered from violence also have higher risk of mental health disorders, depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide.
According to UNICEF’s global studies, children experience violence across their childhood and in diverse settings, including at homes, in schools, or in their communities, places where they are meant to learn, socialize, and be protected, often by those who they know and trust. Many cases of violence and abuse go unreported.
“Violence against children has long-term impacts on the country’s social and economic prosperity,” said Porametee Vimolsiri, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. “There must be zero tolerance across society for any form of violence against children -- we must not ignore it. One thing that everyone can do to address it is to report when they witness a child being abused, because children often cannot protect themselves or ask for help.”
The campaign kicks off with a four-minute social experiment clip, http://bit.ly/endviolence01
with a scene at a local restaurant where a father engaging in severe verbal and physical violent punishment against his daughter (the scenes are acted). The clip captured reactions of customers witnessing the scene, most of whom looked very concerned on the child well-being but were not sure of what action to take to intervene or how they can help.
Through video clips and photo stories, the campaign also provides information on how 1300 works, with testimonials from people who have reported the child abuse incidents, as well as children who were rescued. The campaign website www.unicef.or.th/endviolence
offers information on how members of the public can support the campaign by making communication materials such as stickers and posters available and ideas for organizing community level awareness-raising activities. In addition, Bambam - Kunpimook Bhuwakul, a well-known artist of Got 7, also joined the campaign to help promote the Helpline.
“Every child has the right to be protected. To enjoy a safe and happy childhood. No child should ever live in fear,” UNICEF’s Davin added. “We urge everyone to play an active role in protecting children before it’s too late. Everybody can be part of the solution.”
Watch video clip http://bit.ly/endviolence01
For more information about the campaign, please visit www.unicef.or.th/endviolence
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.