A United Nations-backed partnership and fund were launched today to make achieving the new global target to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children a public priority and a collective responsibility.
End Violence Against Children – The Global Partnership brings together the United Nations, governments, foundations, civil society, academia, the private sector and young people in driving action towards achieving the targets to end violence by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The Global Partnership to End Violence against Children is mobilizing the world,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “There could be no more meaningful way to help realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that in the past year, as many as one billion children around the world have experienced physical, sexual, or psychological violence. Globally, one in four children suffers physical abuse. Nearly one in five girls is sexually abused at least once in her life, while every five minutes, a child dies as a result of violence.
“Violence against children is a problem shared by every society – so the solution must also be shared,” said the Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Anthony Lake, who serves as founding co-chair of the Global Partnership Board.
“When we protect children from violence we not only prevent individual tragedies and support children's development and growth. In doing so, we also support the strength and stability of their societies,” he added.
In coordination with the United Kingdom (UK), a multi-donor trust fund is being established to support the Global Partnership. The UK Government is making a contribution of £40 million to catalyze the Fund in collaboration with the WePROTECT Global Alliance, an initiative created in 2014 by the Government that is dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of children online through national and global action.
The UK funding will be dispersed over the next four years and will focus on ending online child sexual exploitation.
“Every day, in every country and every community, children are victimized by violence – and far too often, this violence is accepted as normal, permissible, or a private matter,” said Susan Bissell, Director of the Global Partnership.
“Violence against children is not inevitable – if we challenge the status quo that harms the lives and futures of so many children. Every child has the right to grow up free from violence – and we all need to work together to realize that vision,” she added.
At the launch event, government ministers from Sweden, Mexico, Indonesia and Tanzania committed to developing specific plans that will combat violence against children, including tackling behaviours and traditions that further violence, making schools and institutions safe for all children, and strengthening data collection about violence and children, among other efforts.
The Global Partnership today also launched a new 'Inspire' package of seven strategies to prevent violence against children.
The package was created with the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC, End Violence Against Children, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), The US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Together for Girls, UNICEF, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank.
The new strategies include parent and caregiver support programmes, life skills training, the implementation and enforcement of laws, and services for victims.
In a separate news release today, WHO highlighted that the seven approaches have all been tested, and all have shown concrete results.
“Knowledge about the extent and harms of violence against children is growing, together with evidence about effective strategies for prevention,” noted Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of WHO's Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.
“Now we need to build on that knowledge to work collectively to create the safe, stable, and nurturing environments that protect children and adolescents from violent harm,” he added.
The launch of the Global Partnership includes the premiere of a new public service announcement featuring UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson and international children's peace prize winners from Liberia and the Philippines.