Protecting Children From Violence

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Posted on 8/13/2013
youth in Dominica learn to creatively express their feelings about teen pregnancy, drug abuse and domestic violence.
During a drama workshop, youth in Dominica learn to creatively express their feelings about teen pregnancy, drug abuse and domestic violence.

Violence against children is all too common in many countries around the world. Domestic abuse and other forms of violence against children are some of the most complex problems facing organizations like ChildFund today, as underreporting of violence and cultural attitudes toward children in some countries can make it difficult to identify and protect children at the highest risk of abuse. ChildFund works in some of the world's poorest countries to protect and empower children who are at risk of abuse and violence. UNICEF launched a campaign to make violence against children a more visible issue in the eyes of policymakers and the general public.

An 'Invisible' Problem

Overcoming cultural taboos and other attitudes that allow violence against children to take place is one of the greatest challenges in the fight to end this abuse. The causes of violence toward children are complex, and tackling the underlying issues of poverty, gender bias and other factors is difficult.

Violence against children is not limited to developing nations. It is a pervasive problem, and one that can have a range of serious consequences, from physical and psychological harm to death, in extreme cases. Many cases of violence against children go unreported, leaving children in vulnerable situations in which their health, safety and even lives are at risk. Many children are too young to report harm, and in some communities, there is intense pressure to keep domestic or sexual abuse a secret because of cultural views or fear of reprisal. Other children consider abuse a normal part of growing up.

"In every country, in every culture, there is violence against children," says Anthony Lake, UNICEF's executive director. "Whenever and wherever children are harmed, our outrage and anger must be seen and heard. We must make the invisible visible."

Helping Children Use Their Voices

Raising awareness of violence against children is at the heart of UNICEF's End Violence Against Children initiative, and it is an important part of ChildFund's work around the world. We aim to empower children and families so they will be able to break free of the vicious cycle of violence that affects millions. We also work with children and youth who have been through traumatic experiences, helping them heal through honest discussions and even through art.

In fact, we’ve just launched Guardian Angels, a new monthly giving program through which you can help provide lifesaving protection for children in the United States and around the world, keeping them safe from violence, exploitation and abuse, as well as dangers like child trafficking, forced labor and early marriage.

As a Guardian Angel, you’ll also help strengthen societies and systems to improve children’s access to rights like health care and education — and all they need to grow into strong, productive adults who can protect themselves.