Targets to end violence against children are meaningless unless they are matched by a strong commitment to action. We have a legal and moral obligation to act, and a growing body of evidence from around the world that shows us how we can make societies safer for children. With implementation of the right laws, systems, policies and investments, as well as adequate monitoring and evaluation, along with robust public education and campaigning, we can achieve significant, sustained and measurable reductions in violence, while doing more to respond to the needs of child victims. According to Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization:
We know what works to prevent violence in our homes, schools and workplaces and on our streets and playgrounds. We should take inspiration from governments which have demonstrated success in reducing violence by taking the steps needed. They have shown us that indeed violence is preventable.
This is why the new Partnership is urgently needed. Agenda 2030 calls for all countries and all stakeholders to come together in a collaborative partnership to deliver sustainable development to all, and especially to the poorest and most vulnerable. The Partnership is all about doing things that will have a meaningful impact.
By bringing together governments, United Nations agencies, international organizations, civil society, including faith groups, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, researchers and academics, and children themselves, the Partnership aims to build on successes achieved to date, lessons learned and the work of other partnerships, to:
- Raise awareness of the importance of delivering SDG16.2 and other targets for ending violence against children, both to guarantee children’s right to live free from fear and to allow them to benefit from all aspects of the new sustainable development agenda.
- Build upon existing efforts to mobilize a powerful movement behind a common strategy for ending violence, strengthening the political will that is needed for delivery of ambitious, evidence-based policies and programmes that will lead to significant, sustained and measurable reductions in violence.
- Work to end violence in countries in all regions and among all income groups, while focusing resources and energy on children whose vulnerability to violence makes them most likely to be left behind by the new sustainable development agenda.
- Draw on the skills and energies of all parts of society, ensuring all sectors play their roles in defeating violence.
- Use our success in delivering measurable reductions in violence to further strengthen the case for increased investment in prevention and response to violence, and to continually increase our understanding of what works to keep children safe.
The solutions to violence can be delivered at scale only if the energies, skills and resources of all parts of society are harnessed. This means reaching out to all those who work for children, either professionally or on a voluntary basis, whether from government, civil society, the UN or the private sector. Connections must be strengthened with those working to end violence against women and girls, boys, and young adults, along with those who aim to reduce conflict and build inclusive, just societies. Victims of violence – boys, girls, women and men – share common risk factors, and emerging evidence shows that prevention and response efforts, promoted together, can be more effective than if developed separately.