Of all the things children need to grow up at their potential, one of the most urgent is safety from harm. Yet millions of children the world over still experience abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence that derail their development. Harm to children can be physical, mental, emotional or sexual. It knows no ethnic, religious or cultural boundaries, and it can happen at the hands of anyone in a child’s life: strangers or teachers, peers or parents.
Research shows that chronic exposure to adverse childhood experiences such as violence can cause the brain to experience toxic stress, disrupting healthy development and causing problems that often persist into adulthood. The good news is that violence against children is completely preventable. At ChildFund, we’re committed to helping create a world where it no longer exists.
We support families to promote their children’s well-being within safe environments. This means educating caregivers about how to interact with their children in healthy ways, as well as helping bolster families’ socioeconomic stability so they can consistently make choices in their children’s best interests.
We educate communities about children’s need for protection, supporting them to create and sustain child protection committees that know how to respond appropriately to abuse, neglect, exploitation and other forms of violence.
We empower children to understand and embrace their own right to protection, helping them find and raise their voices against violence. We advocate alongside them at the local, national and international levels for policy changes that make protecting children a priority.
It may be harsh, humiliating corporal punishment, female genital mutilation, or online sexual abuse and exploitation (OSEAC). Child, early or forced marriage, a type of gender-based violence, can set the stage for a variety of abuses.
It includes child labor; child trafficking; sexual exploitation, including the production of child sexual abuse materials, child prostitution, early marriage and sex tourism; and, in many countries, recruitment into armed forces.
Abandonment and other types of neglect leave children vulnerable to institutionalization, exploitation and other hazards.
Violence can be physical, sexual, emotional or psychological and can take many forms: bullying, forced displacement and separation, torture, mutilation, physical punishment, rape and other forms of gender-based violence.
The online sexual abuse and exploitation of children is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world – and every child is at risk. Watch this video from ChildFund Philippines to learn more about how it happens and why children need our protection now more than ever.
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