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UN reveals full range and scale of Violence against Children

27/10/2006: Switzerland

Much violence against children remains hidden and is often socially approved, according to the United Nations Secretary-Generals Study on Violence against Children presented yesterday to the UN General Assembly. For the first time, a single document provides a comprehensive global view of the range and scale of violence against children.

Violence against children includes physical violence, psychological violence, discrimination, neglect and maltreatment. It ranges from sexual abuse in the home to corporal and humiliating punishment at school; from the use of physical restraints in childrens homes to brutality at the hands of law enforcement officers; from abuse and neglect in institutions to gang warfare on the streets where children play or work; from infanticide to so-called honour killing.

The best way to deal with violence against children is to stop it before it happens, says Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the Independent Expert appointed by the Secretary-General to lead the Study. Everyone has a role to play in this, but States must take the primary responsibility. That means prohibiting all kinds of violence against children, wherever it occurs and whoever is the perpetrator, and investing in prevention programmes to address the underlying causes. People must be held accountable for their actions but a strong legal framework is not only about sanctions, it is about sending a robust, unequivocal signal that society just will not accept violence against children.

The Study, which combines human rights, public health and child protection perspectives, focuses on five settings where violence occurs: the home and family, schools and educational settings, institutions (care and judicial), the workplace, and the community.

Extreme violence against children may hit the headlines but the Study concludes that for many children violence is routine, a part of their daily reality. Although much violence remains hidden or unreported, and figures therefore often underestimate the scope of the problem, the statistics in the report reveal a startling picture.

You may download the entire report following the link: http://old.champagnat.org/en/250301007.htm

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