For every child, the right to a safe and caring environment
Children experience insidious forms of violence, exploitation and abuse, often in the places they should be most protected – their homes, schools and online. Violence against children can be physical, emotional or sexual. And in many cases, children suffer at the hands of the people they trust.
Many children in Thailand continue to face significant protection challenges, especially children with disabilities and those who are migrants or stateless. Fifty-eight per cent of parents use violent discipline, and one in five young women are married in childhood.
COVID-19 has only heightened risks resulting from family separation. An estimated 55,000 children are growing up without parental care and are likely to live under institutional care, which is often unregulated.
As children spend more time than ever online, they face greater risks of sexual exploitation and abuse. Approximately 400,000 children aged 12-17 have been victims of online sexual exploitation and abuse in the past year alone, and only 1-3 per cent report their experience to the police.
UNICEF works with the Government to strengthen the child protection system for prevention, surveillance of and response to violence and exploitation, including online sexual abuse. We are also working together to reform policy and build a stronger social service workforce and information management system.
UNICEF engages institutions, the private sector, communities and families to recognise and support children at risk. We help develop child safeguarding policies in institutions that accommodate children and within the education system. With the private sector, we work to prevent violence and promote digital literacy and resilience. Caregivers, children and communities are learning how to detect and prevent abuse through our advocacy, and harmful gender and social norms that promote or tolerate violence are being shifted through our public campaigns and communication.
UNICEF also works to strengthen child protection and juvenile justice services for improved case management, especially for migrant and stateless children. We support interventions for preventing repeated abuse as well as rehabilitation and reintegration for juvenile offenders and survivors of abuse. We also work to develop cross-border agreements with Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos on protecting migrant children.