Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Violence against Children

 Violence against Children

Violence against anybody is wrong and a crime against humanity but on children it is worse.

All over the world, children with disabilities are suffering from sexual violence at the hands of perpetrators who operate with almost total impunity. Almost as shocking as the abuse itself is the fact that so little is known about it.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence against any children is a gross violation of children’s rights. Yet it is a global reality across all countries and social groups. It takes the form of sexual abuse, harassment, rape or sexual exploitation in prostitution or pornography. It can happen in homes, institutions, schools, workplaces, in travel and tourism facilities, within communities - both in development and emergency contexts.

 In many countries, violence against children such as corporal punishment, remains legal and socially accepted. Growing up with violence seriously affects a child's development, dignity, and physical and psychological integrity.

The violence children face takes many forms, such as sexual exploitation and abuse, trafficking, physical and humiliating punishment, harmful traditional practices (including early marriage and female genital mutilation/cutting) and recruitment into armed forces and groups.

Increasingly, the internet and mobile phones also put children at risk of sexual violence as some adults look to the internet to pursue sexual relationships with children. There is also an increase in the number and circulation of images of child abuse. Children themselves also send each other sexualized messages or images on their mobile phones, so called ‘sexting’, which puts them at risk for other abuse.

In 2002, WHO estimated that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 years experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact (United Nations study on violence against children).

 Millions more are likely exploited in prostitution or pornography each year, most of the times lured or forced into these situations through false promises and limited knowledge about the risks. Yet the true magnitude of sexual violence is hidden because of its sensitive and illegal nature. Most children and families do not report cases of abuse and exploitation because of stigma, fear, and lack of trust in the authorities. Social tolerance and lack of awareness also contribute to under-reporting.

Evidence shows that sexual violence can have serious short- and long-term physical, psychological and social consequences not only for girls or boys, but also for their families and communities. This includes increased risks for illness, unwanted pregnancy, psychological distress, stigma, discrimination and difficulties at school.

Children are often afraid to report incidents of violence. In many cases parents remain silent if the abuse is perpetrated by a spouse or family member or a more powerful member of society, such as an employer, a police officer, or a community leader.

Physical Punishment

Physical and humiliating punishment is the most common form of violence against children. However, it remains lawful and widely socially accepted in all but 32 states (June, 2012). This means that more almost 95 per cent of children in the world do not have the same protection against this form of violence as adults.

Children continue to be physically punished and deliberately humiliated in almost all societies and across all cultures as this practice remains far too common at home, in schools and institutions:

Physical and humiliating punishment in schools has been abolished in over 100 states but is still considered and practiced to discipline children in schools in most countries.

Only 1 out of 10 children live in a country where physical and humiliating punishments are forbidden in all alternative care settings.

It is still lawful to sentence children to caning, whipping or flogging in the penal systems of 145 states all over the world.

This form of violence might be a deliberate act of punishment or just the impulsive reaction of an irritated adult. Regardless of which, it is still a breach of the universal principle that all human beings should be treated with respect for their human dignity and their right to physical integrity.
One main reason for physical punishment is that caregivers or teachers see no other way of correcting the child’s behavior and instill discipline.

However, it has been proven that physical and humiliating punishment is not only a violation of children’s human rights but is also ineffective as a means of discipline. In addition, a commitment to ending all forms of physical and humiliating punishment is a priority because:

  • It is a violation of children’s right to protection, but can also threaten children’s rights to education, development, health and even survival.

  • It can cause serious physical and psychological harm to the children

  • It teaches the child that violence is an acceptable andappropriate strategy for resolving conflict or getting people to do what you want.

  • It may give the impression that some forms or levels of violence against children are legitimate which makes protection of children difficult in general.

  • It encourages children to be aggressive, creates anger and resentment and damages the parent-child relationship.

Child labour

Children work in rich as well as in poor countries. The biggest number of working children is found in Asia. This is not surprising as this is where most children live. The highest proportion of working children is found in Africa, where one child in four is engaged in ’child labour’

Reasons: In order to protect children from workplace abuse, it is important to understand the reasons for children’s entry into to labour market. There is much evidence to suggest that many children work for their own or their family’s survival.

A lack of access to good quality, relevant education is regarded as another key reason for children’s work, as governments have failed to ensure that education is genuinely free, or to invest in improvements in the quality of schooling. Negative attitudes and lack of skills among teachers, and the levels of abuse in schools, are factors that children and their families take into account when they regard work as more relevant than school.

Structural inequalities are important determinants of the types as well as the amounts of work that girls and boys do. For example, children may be discriminated against on the grounds of gender, ethnicity or disability, leading to exclusion from school, limited employment prospects and little choice but to work in harmful forms of work. When gender norms prevent women from entering paid employment, children might have to join the workforce.

Seemingly unrelated issues like HIV/AIDS, conflict and climate change, can have a major impact on child work. For example, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has reduced the adult workforce and diverted expenditure away from social protection and education, pushing boys and girls into harmful work. Conflict can lead to an increase in child soldiers and to children being separated from their families, becoming vulnerable to exploitation. Environmental disasters associated with climate change can increase household vulnerability, forcing children to work to enhance the amount or stability of incomes.

Children living without Proper Care

Children without appropriate care' encompasses a broad range of children who are not receiving suitable, continuous and quality care, nurture and guidance at a physical, emotional, social and psychological level from either their families or from other primary carers that are meant to replace the family environment and are responsible for their well-being and development. The number of children living without appropriate care is staggering.

• The world is home to 18.3 million orphans

• There are more than 15 million children under the age of 18 who have lost one or both parents to AIDS

• More than one million children are trafficked every year

• An estimated eight million children around the world are living in

care institutions, such as orphanages

• In the last decade, an estimated 20 million children were forced to flee their homes

• More than one million have been orphaned or separated from their families by an emergency

 Children are often afraid to report incidents of violence. In many cases parents remain silent if the abuse is perpetrated by a spouse or family member or a more powerful member of society, such as an employer, a police officer, or a community leader.

 There are many charities that are helping children across the world like Save the Children and many others. Lets all help protect children.

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