End Violence Against Children
The Global Partnership and Fund
Sri Lanka Launches National Partnership to
End Violence Against Children by 2030
2nd June 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The National Partnership to End Violence Against Children (NPEVAC) in Sri Lanka, was launched today as part of a bold, new collaborative partnership between the government, UN agencies, international organizations, civil society, faith groups, the private sector, the media, children and other key stakeholders.
Currently, children in Sri Lanka are exposed to multiple forms of violence in their homes, schools, online and in their communities, with over 9,000 instances of violence involving children reported to the National Child Protection Agency (NCPA) in 2016. A new discussion paper entitled ‘Preventing Violence Against Children in Sri Lanka’ and launched by the partnership, further highlights that:
- 40% of parents surveyed in the Colombo District admitted physically abusing their child in the previous month (2013)*;
- 14% of adolescent girls and boys surveyed had experienced some form of sexual abuse;
- 31% of adolescent boys, and 25% of adolescent girls surveyed had experienced emotional abuse in the preceding three months (2009);
As one of twelve ‘pathfinding’ countries, Sri Lanka is taking the lead globally to end violence including abuse, neglect and exploitation against children by 2030. This commitment is part of the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and supports the country’s drive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at the launch, The Honorable Chandrani Bandara, Minister of Women and Child Affairs, said: “The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children creates a vital window of opportunity for Sri Lanka to share our successes, discuss challenges and exchange knowledge'.
While Sri Lanka has worked on a number of initiatives to protect children from physical and sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation, the discussion paper makes further recommendations to accelerate efforts to end violence against children including:
- a study to identify the drivers of violence against girls and boys in Sri Lanka and generate disaggregated data on the prevalence, trends and contexts of violence;
- actions to end sexual violence against girls and boys in line with local and global evidence along with clearly defined targets for all partners to work towards;
- addressing physical and humiliating punishment in family, school and institutional settings including building the capacity of parents, teachers and caregivers to adopt positive discipline practices; prohibiting corporal punishment by law; and increasing support for them to manage stress and conflict without violence;
- finalization of the Draft National Policy for Child Protection; convene Grassroots Learning Forums to generate learning from the collective experience of frontline workers, other stakeholders and children; explore pathways to work with the Private Sector; support the necessary amendments to the Children (Judicial Protection) Bill and advocate for its finalization and enactment.
Speaking on behalf of partner organizations, Mr. Tim Sutton, Representative, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) added “As individuals, parents or family members, we know that violence against children is morally wrong. But we now know that violence affects the physical growth, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of a child. Its impacts are not only devastating now, they can last a life time. In younger children violence damages brain development, hampers their opportunities to learn and therefore negatively impacts their future prospects to grow to their full potential. These impacts can be passed from one generation to the next. It is therefore vital, not only for the children involved but for Sri Lanka, that we all work together to end violence. This partnership is a crucial step to achieve our goal of a country free from violence against children by 2030.”
Closing the launch, the Hon. Chandrani Bandara, Minster of Women and Child Affairs; Ms. Chandrani Senaratne, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs; Mr. Tim Sutton, Representative, UNICEF; Prof Savitri Goonesekere, Board Member, Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, and representatives from partner organisations publically signed ‘A Declaration Of Commitment to the National Partnership to End Violence against Children in Sri Lanka’.
* Source : de Zoysa, P. (n.d.). A Study on Parental Disciplinary Practices and an Awareness Program to Reduce Corporal Punishment and Other Forms of Negative Parental Practices. Retrieved from http://www.cpcnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Report-on-Corporal-Punishment.pdf
‘Preventing Violence Against Children in Sri Lanka’, a country discussion paper can be downloaded here
Policy brief can be downloaded here
Infographic can be downloaded here