Together to #ENDviolence Advocates

The Together to #ENDviolence Leaders’ Event brought together one of the most diverse and influential groups of advocates that have ever come together solely to end all forms of violence against children.

On 14 June, 2022, 40 speakers – including heads of state and United Nations leadership, children and survivors of childhood violence, royalty, CEOs and celebrities – were joined by over 2,000 people from 143 countries, to accelerate progress towards a shared vision of a world where every child grows up in a safe, secure and nurturing environment.

It was a global moment at a critical time for children, as the world rebuilds from the pandemic amidst the rising challenges of conflict and climate change. The event witnessed a comprehensive discussion on the current global context, placing a spotlight on what works and what needs to be done to #ENDviolence against children at home, in schools, in communities and online.  

Collectively, the leaders and advocates made a compelling case for greater political and financial commitments and called for immediate action.

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Here are some of the commitments and calls to action from End Violence Leaders

Amina J. Mohammed

Political & financial commitment must match the scale of violence faced by children

Amina J. Mohamed stressed that tackling violence against children is a necessary pre-condition to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Highlighting that violence against children undermines every goal, be it health, education, or gender-equality, she stressed that the level of political and financial commitment to this issue must match the scale of violence faced by children.

“Doing better means first and foremost, placing children’s rights and well-being at the centre of the 2030 Agenda”.

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UK Government announces a £16.5 million investment to tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse through the End Violence Partnership

To strengthen the United Kingdom’s efforts in creating a safer world for children, offline and online, the UK Government’s Home Office announced a further 3-year, £16.5 million investment in the End Violence Partnership. This will be part of their efforts to combat the critical issue of online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

“The fight against child sexual exploitation and abuse is one of the most important and pressing issues of our time. Confronting this threat is a major priority for the UK government.”

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Rachel Maclean MP

Leaders Event Advocates

The European Commission is taking legislative action to protect children from abuse and exploitation - including online 

Ursula von der Leyen placed a call to action to avoid halting progress in the face of challenges – conflict, the pandemic and increased threats to online safety – which are all affecting children in Europe and beyond. She highlighted the work the European Commission is doing to protect children in Ukraine and the over 2 million refugee children fleeing the conflict, and shed light on the work being done to make the digital world safer through the EU’s new proposed legislation to tackle online child sexual abuse. 

“The European Commission is taking action. We have just proposed new European legislation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse online...Every child we protect and empower gives rise to hope.”

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Children’s voices must be included in decision-making

From Africa and the Americas to Asia, children from across regions of the world spoke truth to power, sharing their perspectives, their solutions and their calls to action to global leaders. Among these was Dola, a child activist fighting for change for children. She called on leaders to take action for children, with children. 

"I am speaking out because we have the ear of international leaders. But we want their mind and heart. And more than anything we want their commitment and action to bring change and to end all forms of violence"

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Dola, Bangladesh

 

Ashton Kutcher Actor, Producer & Co-founder of Thorn

We need to develop and invest in technology solutions to keep our children safe online 

Ashton Kutcher highlighted the urgent action needed to keep children Safe Online. Speaking from his experience as the Co-Founder of Thorn, which builds and deploys cutting-edge software in the fight against sexual exploitation of children, he spoke about how the digital world is still evolving in complex ways and stressed the need to be ready with technological solutions for children in this new online space.

“We can’t fight this alone. We need policymakers who understand the issue and have urgency. We need the tech industry to prioritise this issue and put their best and brightest on it. And we need all sorts of efforts in victim support and preventative work.”

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We need to break the silence to end violence against children 

Patrice Evra shared a powerful testimony of his experiences – from facing adversity and being a survivor of childhood violence to being the captain of Manchester United and the French National Football team.

He spoke about the abuse he faced as a young boy, and reflects on the courage it takes to break the silence. He is speaking out to raise awareness and shine a spotlight on both the problem of child abuse and exploitation, as well as the solutions. 

“There is silence, stigma and shame which only helps those who perpetrate the violence… I would like to lead by example. Together, we can change a billion futures."

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Leaders Event Advocates

Gitanjali Rao

Young people need to be part of the solution

Gitanjali Rao is working relentlessly at her young age to make the online spaces that her peers –  children and youth – occupy are safe and secure. And she strongly believes that the solutions need to come from children themselves. She shared her journey as an innovator to develop an app that works to combat cyberbullying. And she highlighted the need to help all children, young people and especially the victims and survivors to take the next step toward preventing this abuse. 

“We need solutions for teenagers, by teenagers.”

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Investing in violence prevention should be integral to every government’s economic and development strategy

Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid discussed the huge cost of violence against children being paid by individuals, societies and countries. Violence costs children their health and futures, communities and countries lose out on human development, and we bear the cost of trillions of dollars each year as a society. Dr. Maalla M’jid highlighted that we must invest now. 

"The urgency of investing in effective protection of all children, from all forms of violence, in all settings, is more relevant than ever worldwide."

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 Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid

H.E. Hakainde Hichilema

Zambia is making progress to keep its children safe as a Pathfinding country

President Hakainde Hichilema reiterated Zambia’s commitment to end all forms of violence against children in the country, including through becoming one of the 37 Pathfinding countries of the world. He presented the country’s efforts in generating evidence and national action and planning being taken for the protection of children.

“Being a Pathfinding country means we are committed to provide a child friendly environment that allows children to not only survive, but also thrive.” 

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Countries, civil society, private enterprises, faith-based organisations –  all need to work together

Stressing that violence against children is taking place in many forms, from child marriage to trafficking – and in all settings – in schools, online, at home and in communities, Lena Hallengren made the case for action from all sectors of society. Her call to action: we need to work together – states, civil society, private enterprises and community - and faith-based organisations. She reaffirmed Sweden’s support to the End Violence Partnership, stressing that it is key to enable this collaborative action.

“I wish there was a silver bullet for achieving a world free from violence against children. But there isn't. I'm convinced that it takes the whole society, the whole international community, to end violence against children."

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Lena Hallengren


Panel: survivor-led Brave Movement

Global leadership such as G7 must lead the charge and put ending violence against children high on the global agenda 

The powerful panel by the global survivor-led Brave Movement had adult survivors of childhood violence share their stories and demand commitment by high-level decision-makers to prioritising ending childhood sexual abuse. They called to place end violence on the global agenda – including calling on G7 countries’ commitment to and prioritisation of ending childhood sexual violence. 

“Our goal is to gain the support of the G7 heads of states. Because childhood sexual violence is a global issue that belongs on a global agenda….What is decided on the G7 level has a huge impact on other countries in the world.”  
- Wibke Müller, Brave Movement

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We need to protect children in humanitarian settings 

David Miliband stressed the urgent need to keep working for children in the most fragile settings – across humanitarian and conflict settings. Highlighting the scale of violence children are facing in these contexts, he called for urgent action on four fronts: tackling impunity, funding prevention, specialised services combined with mainstreaming services, and a multi-year response to bring lasting, effective change.

“The sustainable development goal to end all violence against children by 2030 is only going to be possible if we specifically focus on the needs of the children in fragile and conflict states.”

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Catherine Russell 
Executive Director, UNICEF 

Children must be at the heart of COVID-19 response plans

Catherine Russel reaffirmed UNICEF’S commitment to end violence for every child and called on leaders to put children at the centre of COVID-19 response plans, stressing the importance of supporting parenting programmes and social protection in doing so. 

“We need to keep the pressure to integrate child protection measures in all COVID-19 response plans. We also need to keep pushing for investments in parenting.”

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Evidence, awareness and action plans are key to ending violence against children

Jamille Bigio highlighted the action the US government is taking to support countries build evidence and data through comprehensive national Violence Against Children Surveys (VACS) to inform national violence prevention plans. She reaffirmed USAID’s commitment to end violence against children and gender-based violence in all its forms, and outlined the action being taken to achieve this.

“The US government does not take this threat lightly. Our strategy to advance protection and care for children in adversity prioritises protecting children from violence, exploitation, abuse and neglect.”

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We need to ensure online safety in our fast-evolving digital world 

Julie Inman Grant shared the action and solutions that Australia is adopting for a safer, more secure internet amidst rapid digitalisation. She highlighted the passage of the online safety act implemented in January 2022 and also spoke to the urgent need to think about what the rapid technological changes such as the Metaverse mean for children’s safety.

“If we are not building safety into this next generation where children are going to be having hyper-realistic and high-sensory experiences, how are we going to protect them and alleviate the harm in the future?”

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We will succeed only by working together, across all settings 

Joy Phumaphi highlighted the pervasive, global scale of the issue – violence against children is a silent epidemic that does not discriminate. The world is in the midst of simultaneous crises including COVID-19, climate change, multiple conflicts, sharp increases in the cost of living and shortages of food. All of them put children at greater risk of violence, abuse and exploitation.

But, she stressed, times of such challenge and change can also be times of opportunity. Highlighting the work, solutions, and calls to action are being generated across settings, she stresses the need to invest in and amplify these for progress.

The End Violence Partnerships calls to on all leaders, everywhere to adopt and implement the six Together to #ENDviolence policy proposals.

“We know what works to end violence against children. And together, we are a part of the solution.”

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Joy Phumaphi

 

 

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Address development finance holistically, invest in children’s rights for a better future

Leading economist Jeffery Sachs alerted that global financing for development is woefully inadequate. He stated that the shortfall in SDG financing is $1 trillion dollars a year – 0.9 percent of Gross World Product (GWP)  – a gap that can and must be closed by expanding the role of global financing and specialised funds. He also stressed the need to distribute these investments in developing countries.

“It’s time for fairness, justice, and our common interest in a stable world, which, unfortunately, is becoming ever more unstable. We need to address development finance  holistically and within that, the rights of the children will certainly stand out as an absolutely core pillar to invest in the future we want.”

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Safety must be prioritised in education plans and policies

H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, placed a spotlight on the importance of all children being safe to learn. He stressed that we need political leadership to ensure safety is prioritised in education plans and policies and called on leaders to endorse the Safe to Learn Call to Action.

“Children can’t learn when they fear for their safety. They shouldn’t have to drop out of school to keep themselves safe. But far too many do.”

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H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete