‘Violence against children’ is a phrase that we often hear. It may affect us for a few moments, allowing us to reflect, feel the pain and regret. It may be just words on paper. It may be statements out of nowhere that have nothing to do with us.
it is evident that children are putting the issue of violence at the forefront of their concerns.
However, the phenomenon of violence against children keeps spreading. With the advancement of technology and the proliferation of social media, perhaps society is more aware of the extent of this problem and its seriousness on children everywhere. People may think that violence against children is only the physical suffering, such as after a beating or punching. The violence children experience does not stop there. It extends to different forms of violence from verbal to moral and from physical to sexual abuse.
In the context of my work as the Child Participation and Advocacy Officer with World Vision Lebanon and through my interaction with children who are members of the Children’s Council in different parts of the country, it is evident that children are putting the issue of violence at the forefront of their concerns. They want a change and want to contribute to promote that change. As an example, a group of children just finished a photo-advocacy report that aims to raise awareness on this issue. This report includes sixteen photographs taken by the children who wanted to shed light on violence and its negative impact on the physical and psychological development of children. In order to make their message clear and strong, they included captions for every photograph so that their message, ‘No to violence, yes to the innocence of childhood!’ reaches the biggest audience.
Children want to eradicate violence against children from its roots by raising awareness about the problem to parents and to the community, and by ensuring the development of strict laws to punish all who abuse children and violate their rights. I am confident that this photo-advocacy report will enable children to contribute to the debate around violence and create more opportunities for them to participate on issues that are relevant to them.
I am very proud of the children who contributed to the production of this publication. They did their utmost to make their voices heard, each in their own special way, with the best possible pictures and the most eloquent words.
Readers can find this publication at http://www.wvi.org/child-participation/publication/we-stand-together-against-violence
About the author
Mario Stephano’s role includes promoting meaningful and rights-based child participation and providing guidance to field staff to conduct child-led initiatives by using peer-to-peer approaches. Mr. Stephano’s primary motivation is to equip children with the skills needed to achieve their optimal development and to exercise their rights guaranteed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.