It is the responsibility of the entire international community to empower our world’s youth and to lay the groundwork for each and every child to reach their full potential.
A new report from our partners at UNICEF shows that an astonishing number of children around the world are experiencing violence that is committed by those entrusted to take care of them. The report, A Familiar Face: Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents, calls attention to the staggering abuse that inflicts the homes, schools, and neighborhoods of children across the globe.
Here are some of the devastating statistics included in the report:
- Every seven minutes, a child is murdered.
- Two out of three violent acts against children worldwide are due to interpersonal violence as opposed to civil conflict or civil unrest.
- Approximately 300 million children between the ages two and four are subject to physical punishment or psychological aggression from their own parents or caregivers.
- Half the population of school-age children live in countries where corporal punishment at school is not fully prohibited.
- Non-Hispanic black males age 10 to 19 years old in the United States are nineteen times more likely to be murdered than non-Hispanic white boys of the same age. Non-Hispanic black adolescents are at similar risk in conflict zones such as South Sudan.
- Fifteen million girls aged fifteen to nineteen worldwide have already experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts in their lifetime from people they were close to.
Even worse, each statistic is a severe underestimation of the true degree to which violence is inflicted upon children worldwide. “It can take a lot of courage for a victim, especially a young victim, to disclose [an incident] even in an anonymous survey, due to fears about stigma, retaliation and a sense of shame and guilt,” explained UNICEF senior data specialist, Claudia Cappa. “At the same time, since data about slapping young children comes from reports by the parents themselves, and we already have these very high levels reported by them, we are probably talking about only the tip of the iceberg.”
Violence has consequences that go well beyond the immediate physical pain it inflicts. Research tells us that toxic stress at home and in other vulnerable spaces affects children’s self-esteem, their ability to learn, their potential to succeed, and even their brain development. It is the responsibility of the entire international community to empower our world’s youth and to lay the groundwork for each and every child to reach their full potential.
Take Action Challenge
- Learn how you can support UNICEF’s work to defend the rights of all children, everywhere. You can become a donor, become a volunteer, or simply help them spread the word: https://www.unicef.org/take-action.
- Get the facts about violence against children. Read UNICEF’s full report here: https://data.unicef.org/resources/a-familiar-face/.