End Violence Against Children
The Global Partnership and Fund
Change Happens When We Empower Young People
“My generation is rewriting history”, declared a member of a youth group in the USA that recently won the right to hold national powers accountable for damage caused by climate change. In Peru, the children of INFANT joined hands and called for more love and empathy and were a driving force behind a ban on corporal punishment. In Bolivia, Plan International is supporting girls and boys to be active in their municipalities’ decision-making. Around the globe, change happens when young people are empowered to stand up for their rights.
This year has been a difficult one for millions of children around the world. Every five minutes, a child dies as a result of violence. Every year, at least one billion children personally witness violence. Four out of five children are subjected to violent discipline at home. One in five girls between the ages of 15 and 19 have been victims of physical violence. More than one in ten girls have been victims of sexual violence. And more than 240 million children live in countries affected by violent conflict.
That is why the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and partners talked to over 1,500 children across 24 countries — from Chile to Canada via Greece and Uganda to Nepal and Philippines. During the consultations we were especially wondering what actions did children think would end violence against them? What we heard was a generation full of hope.
The message of the children during those consultations was very clear. They said that we should foremost listen to what children have to say and what concerns keep them awake at night–
“At least 80% of children that experience violence and do not speak about it because of fear, we must have the courage to break the silence.” — 16-year-old child from Nicaragua
· “Pay attention to the alerts children give, intervene immediately and provide the help and support needed to overcome suffering. I personally demand leave no child behind.” — 13- year-old child from Bolivia
“But without listening to children we will not be able to fix my country. Children must be heard and their rights must be respected.” — 14-year old child from Afghanistan
“In our community, children sit in the Village Council for the Protection of Children to let the local government know what children are experiencing.” — 15-year-old child from the Philippines
Children told us they want to share their ideas on how to make this world a better place. Worldwide, about 2 billion of the population is under 18 years, 1 out of 2 people are under the age of 30. But only 1.65% of parliamentarians around the world are in their 20s and 11.87% are in their 30s according to the United Nations.
Violence against children is a problem shared by all societies, and the solution must also be shared by families, communities, and children themselves. And it must be shared by the broader society — governments, organizations, religious leaders, media and businesses.
The 20th November marked the Universal Children’s Day. This day should remind us every year that we should not only be striving for the healthy development of children but support children to become their own advocates. Engaging children and young people is elementary not only for the success of ending violence against children but also for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
During the consultations, we were able to witness how much hope and creativity children around the world have in ending violence. Let’s share their hope and empower children to be their own agents for change and the sky is the limit for what they can achieve.
Susan Bissell is the Director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children. End Violence’s vision is a world in which every child grows up free from violence. It offers the opportunity for organizations dedicated to ending violence against children to come together, combine their efforts and maximize their impact.