More than any other treaty in international law, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified treaty. Almost all countries are obligated to implement the treaty articles to ensure the child’s rights and protection. Yet, according to UNICEF, three-quarters of children aged 2 to 4 worldwide – close to 300 million – are regularly subjected to violent discipline (physical punishment and/or psychological aggression) by their parents or other caregivers at home, and around 6 in 10 (250 million) are subjected to physical punishment. Many children are also indirectly affected by violence in the home: Worldwide, 1 in 4 children (176 million) under the age of 5 live with a mother who has been a recent victim of intimate partner violence.
Governments, international entities, civil society, and thousands of children had worked together on The World Report on Violence against Children as it’s the first comprehensive global effort to define the scale of all forms of violence against children and its repercussions. Here are some of the major key findings from the report:
- Violence against children exists in every country in the world
This phenomenon affects children across class, ethnicity, educational status, and religious groups. Also, it is not caused by poverty, nor it exists in some cultures as opposed to other cultures.
- Violence affects children across class, ethnic, educational, and religious groups
The problem of violence against children is not effacing only the poor or specific religious groups. It affects educated families and the privileged as well.
- Often socially acceptable
Although most people don’t accept trafficking or exploitation, many people accept violence against children, under the pretext that children don’t listen, and that corporal punishment is the best way to get through to them, or that corporal punishment is a good way to show other children what could happen to them if they misbehave.
- Violence against children is preventable
Looking at violence against children from a health perspective and studying the effects of treating children in violent ways in the earliest and middle stages of childhood and adolescence reveals the catastrophic consequences of this Phenomenon on children’s emotional, social, and physical development.
Home and family, which are considered the safest place for the children, should be supported by services such as home visits to improve parents’ knowledge. Schools should consider embedding programs to empower kids with skills on how to deal with abuse. Public education campaigns should be implemented to change the social norms and attitudes to eradicate child violence, abuse, and neglect. Finally, and most importantly, children’s voices should be heard. Governments and organizations have to make sure that children can report violence in a safe condition.