“Violence against children is everywhere: it affects children at all stages as they develop from infancy through their early years and adolescence; and takes place in all settings where childhood unfolds. This was the main message of the landmark UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence Against Children (2006). However, violence is typically experienced by children in secret, is hidden by adults, and, more often than not, goes un-reported. ”
What is violence against children?
According to the Asean regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Children (ASEAN RPA on EVAC), it is any act on children which causes harm , injury, abuse , neglect or negligent treatment, and/or exploitation whether accepted as ‘tradition’ or disguised as ‘discipline”, including hindering child development”.
Violence against children are categorized as physical violence, sexual violence, neglect and mental violence. Read the report below on the different forms of violence against children.
The 20 forms of violence against children
There is an estimated 1 billion children exposed to violence each year, most of them coming from the Asia-Pacific region . Such forms of violence against children are summarized as follows:
- Those who experience violence at home
- Women and children living with HIV/AIDS
- Sexually exploited women and children
- Trafficked women and children
- Women and children with disabilities
- Women and children in conflict with the law
- Women and children in refugee camp
- Women and children in disaster zones
- Women and children on the move
- Migrant women and children
11. Physically abused women and children
12. Bullied women and children
13. Women and children in early marriage
14. Women and children belonging to ethnic/indigenous groups
15. Women and children experiencing discrimination in mass and social media
16. Victims of cyber pornography and prostitution
17. Women and children in armed conflict
18. Stateless children and women
19. Children in gangs
20. Children who are exposed to substance abuse such as drug abuse , alcoholism and cigarette use.
The ASEAN regional plan “to end violence against children is guided by the fundamental principle highlighted by the UN Study on VAC that no violence against children is justifiable. All violence against children is preventable. Protecting children from violence requires a comprehensive approach across the child s life cycle and in various settings since many types of violence are linked to factors such as poverty, disparities, conflicts, lack of education, gender and other forms of inequities, har mful traditional attitudes and practices and social norms.”
7th High-Level Cross-Regional Roundtable on Violence Against Children
The 7th Cross Regional Meeting on Violence Against Children (VAC) on June 6-8, 2017 is timely. This meeting will be attended by representatives of ASEAN sectoral bodies who undertake relevant work on violence against children such as the Senior Officials Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (SOMSWD), the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR). The theme “Placing Children at the Heart of the Sustainable Development Agenda: Accelerating Progress in Children’s Protection from Violence”, aims to eradicate all forms of abuse and violence against children such as bullying, sexual assault, online violence, and many more.
What is unique in this meeting is the Children’s Parallel Session where children from ASEAN Member States and the Republic of Korea participate as delegates. It is the first time that children will participate in the annual activity of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), which has always been attended by adults. Not only that, this will be the first ever forum where children get the chance to voice out their concerns and share their opinions regarding this matter.
The session will be an avenue to magnify the abuses they are experiencing as well as provide solutions to end harmful deeds to children. The inputs of the Children’s Parallel Session will be used as the basis of the discussion in supporting efforts to reach the violence-related goals and targets agreed upon in Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development.
As the ASEAN chair, the Philippines will act as one of the forerunners in eliminating all forms of VAC. At the end of the 7th Cross Regional Meeting on Violence Against Children (VAC) meeting, more people will be aware of the abuses children face daily. Hopefully, more efforts will be given to end all forms of violence against children.