One billion children in the world suffer violence each year – WHO

NOT less than one billion children, representing half of the world’s children suffer from various forms of violence, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed in a report released on Thursday.

In the report titled Global Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children 2020, the global health body said one billion children each year are affected by physical, sexual or psychological violence, leading to injuries, disabilities and death.

This, WHO noted was as a result of the failure of countries to follow established strategies to protect the children.

The report was published by the WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children and the End Violence Partnership.

“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 well-being, now and for the future,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

The report, which charted progress in 155 countries found a clear need in all countries to scale up efforts to implement the “INSPIRE” framework, a set of seven strategies for preventing and responding to violence against children.

According to Henrietta Fore, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director, things are getting much worse,adding that lockdowns and restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have left children with their abusers.

“Violence against children has always been pervasive, and now things could be getting much worse.

    “Lockdowns, school closures and movement restrictions have left far too many children stuck with their abusers, without the safe space that school would normally offer,” she said.

    Proffering a solution, she added that there is need to scale up efforts to protect children during these times and beyond, including by designating social service workers as essential and strengthening child helplines.

    In Nigeria, a summary report from a 2014 national survey adapted by the UNICEF found that one in every ten children experience some form of violence before they clock 18, indicating that half of all children in the country suffer physical violence.

    Meanwhile, the Save the Children International once said it was extremely concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic could turn into a serious child rights crisis in Nigeria.


    Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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