1 out of 2 children suffer violence: New WHO Report (18 June 2020)

The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with several other organizations, has released a report on the status of preventing violence against children. The report – Global Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children 2020 – is the first of its kind, charting progress in 155 countries against the “INSPIRE” framework, a set of seven strategies for preventing and responding to violence against children.

Background Information

Violence against children includes all forms of violence against people aged under 18 years, whether perpetrated by parents or other caregivers, peers, or strangers.

It can include physical, sexual and emotional violence as well as witnessing violence.

Three main types of interpersonal violence are covered by the report:

  • Child maltreatment – abuse and neglect of children by parents and caregivers, most often in the home but also in settings such as schools and orphanages.
  • Youth violence – violence that occurs among individuals aged 10–29 years who are unrelated and who may or may not know each other. It generally takes place outside of the home, often in schools or in the community where children gather, and online. It includes a range of acts from bullying (including cyber-bullying) and physical fighting, to more severe sexual and physical assault, to homicide.
  • Intimate partner violence – behaviour within an intimate relationship that causes physical, sexual or psychological harm, including acts of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours. In romantically involved but unmarried adolescents it is sometimes called dating violence.

The report does not address the following types of violence:

  • self-directed violence, including suicidal behaviour and self-abuse, and
  • collective violence such as war and terrorism, committed by larger groups of people.

In addition, the report does not explicitly consider human trafficking, a risk factor that in some settings may increase the likelihood of violence against children, nor female genital mutilation/cutting.