Half of the children in the world or about a billion of them are affected every year by physical, sexual or psychological violence and suffer disabilities, injuries and death, according to a report of the World Health Organization (WHO) UNICEF, UNESCO.
The Global Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children 2020 report, which is the first of its kind, said the children the world over suffered as the countries failed to follow strategies to protect them.
Despite most of the countries (about 88 per cent) has major policies and laws to protect children against violence, only half of countries (about 47 per cent) have strongly enforced it, the report said.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyes said “there is never any excuse for violence against children. We have evidence based tools to prevent it, which we urge all countries to implement. Protecting the health and well-being of children is central to protecting our collective health and wellbeing now and for the future,” he said. .
Noting that violence against children has always been pervasive, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that things are now becoming much worse. She said that lockdowns, school closures and restricted movement had left several children stuck with their abuser. Fore said that there was urgent need to take stern efforts to protect children during these times and beyond.
Pointing out that a majority of the countries (83 per cent) had data on violence against children, the report said that only 27 per cent of the countries used this data to set baselines and national targets to prevent violence against children. It also said that 80 per cent of countries have national policies and only one fifth of them have come up with plans that are fully funded or have measurable targets.
On Covid 19 and its impact on children, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that the world has seen a rise in violence and hate online. And as schools are starting to re-open, the children fear about going back to school, Azoulay said.
The Global Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children 2020 report notes that Stay-at-home have limited the usual sources of support for families and individuals that includes friends, extended family or professionals. This also had great impact on child’s ability to cope up with the crises and the new routines of daily life. This was quite evident from the increased number of calls to helplines for child abuse, the report said.
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