As the world marks Universal Children's Day – the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – UNICEF is urging a much stronger light be shone on the millions of children in every country and at every level of society who are victims of violence and abuse that continue to go unnoticed and under-reported.
UNICEF’s Executive Director Anthony Lake says "Too often, abuse occurs in the shadows: undetected, unreported, and – even worse – too often accepted."
He said "We all have a responsibility to 'make the invisible, visible' – from governments enacting and enforcing laws to prohibit violence against children, to private citizens refusing to be silent when they witness or suspect abuse."
Violence against children takes many forms, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and harsh disciplinary practices, and often occurs in situations of war and conflict. It can inflict both physical harm and psychological damage on children.
UNICEF chief Anthony Lake says "Violence against children does more than harm individual children, it undermines the fabric of society, affecting productivity, well-being, and prosperity," adding, "No society can afford to ignore violence against children."
There are approaches that work to prevent and respond to violence against children. These include supporting parents, families and others who care for children; strengthening children's skills to help protect themselves from violence; explicitly working to change attitudes and social norms that tolerate violence and discrimination; and strengthening and enforcing policies and laws that protect children.
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