Protecting Children from Violence in the Time of COVID-19

Disruptions in Prevention and Response Services

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Violence is an all-too-real part of life for children around the globe – regardless of their economic circumstances and sociocultural background – with both immediate and long-term consequences. Available data indicate that children’s experience of violence is widespread, taking different forms: About half the world’s children are subjected to corporal punishment at home; roughly 3 in 4 children between the ages of 2 and 4 years receive violent discipline by parents and other primary caregivers; half of students aged 13 to 15 experience peer violence in and around school; and 1 in 3 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have been victims of intimate partner violence. As daily lives and communities are upended by COVID-19, concern is mounting that violence against children may increase. Children with a history of abuse may find themselves even more vulnerable, both at home and online, and may experience more frequent and severe acts of violence. Others may be victimized for the first time. Children’s exposure to increased protection risks as a result of the coronavirus crisis may occur through a number of pathways. The pandemic could result in loss of parental care due to death, illness or separation, thereby placing children at heightened risk for violence, neglect and exploitation.


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