Recent estimates indicate that more than 1 billion children – half of the children in the world – are exposed to violence each year. While international law upholds that children have a right to be protected from all forms of violence, globally, violence remains an incredibly common part of children’s everyday lives. However, within the dominant discourse, the general public and governments predominantly focus on extreme and sensationalised forms of violence. Violence within the home and at school is often overlooked or ignored. UNICEF EAPRO investigated this understudied area further and, fascinatingly, found that these ‘milder’ forms of violence against children produce major economic consequences.
QUO worked with UNICEF EAPRO on its short discussion paper on this topic for the High-Level Meeting on Cooperation for Child Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region, held 7 to 9 November 2016. The paper draws attention to the prevalence of everyday emotional, physical and sexual violence faced by children in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, it alerts governments to the impact that violence has on the future of a child as a member of society.
As it stands, violence against children in the Asia-Pacific region translates to a loss of billions of dollars each year. The paper reveals that long-term violence profoundly affects a child’s developing brain, which later manifests into risky behaviours, the perpetration of violence, and inevitably becomes an economic burden, as children do not perform to their potential in school and may engage in activities that compromise their future. Thus, UNICEF EAPRO emphasises the need to preserve and protect children’s ‘cognitive capital’ – a term that represents a child’s complete set of intellectual skills determining human capabilities – to enhance their educational outcomes and build healthier economies in the long run.
The report touched on the following sections: violence in the everyday lives of children, the consequences of violence on children’s lives, a new violence prevention agenda and priority actions to leverage change. Throughout the paper, pull quotes highlight key facts, while graphs and figures succinctly present vital statistics from around the region. Across a two-page spread, an eye-catching and hard-hitting map of the world highlights the 2015 estimates of the number of children who have been exposed to at least one type of severe violence.
QUO also designed infographics for PowerPoint presentations to further illustrate the effects and prevalence of violence against children. These visuals highlight global statistics and how toxic stress affects brain development.
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