Ending Violence Against Children Globally
A Pandemic of Violence
Around the world, a child dies every five minutes as a result of violence.1 Half of all children – 1 billion girls and boys – are victims of violence annually. Research and experience shows that girls and boys experience the causes and consequences of violence differently with vulnerable groups at higher risk.2 The world is changing rapidly – for children, and for our organizations. Political instability, conflict, and extreme weather expose children and their families in many places to increased levels of violence and protection risks. Violence against children happens everywhere – in communities, schools, and homes, in rich and poor countries and across borders, during the chaos of an emergency, online and through mobile phones. It can be physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional. We now have an unprecedented opportunity to come together across organizations, governments, the UN and communities to stop this pandemic of violence against children.
A Smart Investment
The global economic impact of physical, psychological, and sexual violence against children can be as high as $7 trillion, or 8% of the world’s GDP.7
Working to protect children from violence is in the best interests of us all. Violence against children negates or weakens impacts of all other international development investments, including global health, early childhood development, education, and economic strengthening. Unaddressed exposure to violence disrupts the development of critical brain architecture and other organ structures, leaving children at life-long risk of disease and reduced potential3,4 and making them less able to live productive lives and benefit from US-supported interventions. Globally, we pay a high price for not acting to protect children and promote early child development.5 By addressing violence against children, our humanitarian and development dollars will go further, our trade partners will be stronger, and societies will be more stable.
A New Understanding
Until recently, the global community has compartmentalized violence against children. Traditional interventions forced vulnerable children and victims into specific categories and failed to recognize that common risk factors or shared vulnerabilities. However, recent research proves that these challenges must be addressed through an approach that examines and acts upon the child’s whole environment and involves a wide variety of stakeholders that can prevent and respond to risks, abuse, and violence.6 The INSPIRE package follows this new thinking and includes seven strategies for ending violence against children.3
A Time for Partnership
ChildFund, Save the Children, World Vision and Futures Without Violence have rallied together to prioritize ending violence against children. We seek to partner with governments, the UN, civil society, the private sector, foundations, researchers and academics, and children themselves to advocate for change, build evidence, scale up interventions that work, and raise awareness of the devastating impact violence has on children around the world.