End Violence Against Children
The Global Partnership and Fund
Ending violence against children with disabilities
End Violence joined the Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities and other partners on March 21 in a side event to the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women for a high-level panel discussion on ending violence against children and adolescents with disabilities. The event also marked the date of World Down Syndrome Day.
Rosangela Berman Bieler, Senior Advisor on Children with Disabilities, UNICEF, opened the event with some sobering facts – children and adolescents with disabilities are two to four times more likely to experience violence than other children. In addition, seventy percent of girls and thirty percent of boys with intellectual disabilities experience unwanted sex before age 18.
If the commitments of governments to Agenda 2030 and its call for the elimination of violence against children are to be met, children and adolescents with disabilities must not be left behind.
Before the panel discussion commenced, the audience was treated to a production by the Nettles Artists Collective. The multimedia and physical theatre piece was written and performed by Tathiana Piancastelli, a 31 year old Brazillian artist with Down syndrome. The play tells the story of Bella, a teenager in search of love and social acceptance. The audience views Bella's victories and defeats, and is incited to consider the nature of our assumptions. The role of parents and the proposed use of exclusion for protection is challenged. In Tathiana’s own words, “nobody deserves to be hurt – can we take action to do something about this? … We’re launching an inclusion revolution!”
During the panel discussion that followed, Susan Bissell, Director, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, directed her remarks to the resilience and tenacity of children-such as Bella- portrayed in Tathiana’s play, facing multiple vulnerabilities.
Susan also spoke about the Partnership’s recent strategy development consultation process which collected input from more than 1500 children in over 20 countries. Children with disabilities were encouraged to take part in the consultations and the view of of children with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities from Nepal, Indonesia, Chile, Somalia and Mexico were received.
The Global Partnership aims to build political will to end violence against children and provide focus in particular for children and issues that have been left behind. The set of interventions that the Global Partnership is rallying partners behind includes collecting data and evidence to “measure what we treasure.” The package addresses social norm change that resonate the assets of every child rather than focusing on deficits – and essential parenting training to support parents especially in dealing with children with exacerbated vulnerabilities. The Global Partnership will harness momentum in connecting all partners working on violence against children.