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Hidden in plain sight: a statistical analysis of violence against children

5 Sep 2014

This report was created to help document the true nature and extent of violence against children across the world.


Violence against children occurs every day, everywhere: the slaps of an upset parent to control an ‘unruly’ child, the sexual victimization of a teenager by a peer or a neighbour, the bullying of one child by another in the schoolyard, the emotional degradation of a child bride by her spouse. Too many children worldwide are affected by such violence, yet it is rarely acknowledged, in part because it is so commonplace. The repercussions are not inconsequential, with ripple effects throughout society as well as future generations.

Everyday violence may be pervasive, but it is not inevitable. The first step in curbing all forms of violence against children is bringing the issue to light – in all its complexity. Despite the difficulties in measuring violence against children, and considerable gaps, an unprecedented volume of data on the subject has become available over the last two decades that is providing the evidence countries need to develop effective policies, legislation and programmes to address violence. Solid data and research are essential in bringing the issue out of the shadows. They are also important in revealing hidden attitudes and social norms that may perpetuate violence against children and factors that may place certain children at higher risk.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees that children everywhere should live free from all forms of violence. For this to happen, the true nature and extent of the problem must be documented. It is to that end that this report is dedicated.

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