Kids deserve better.
Violence is a violation of the life God desires for every child.
Children tell World Vision that violence is the biggest concern affecting them today across all regions, nations and economic contexts. If we don’t end violence against children, we risk jeopardising the progress and losing the investments made in child survival, health and education, as well as overall economic development.
It takes a world to end violence against children, that’s why we’re igniting a global movement of people from all walks of life, and partnering with people of faith, corporate organisations, communities, political leaders and families to end this injustice.
Here are some of the forms of violence against children we’re working on:
Violence in schools and online
Children who are abused physically and verbally at home may carry out the same behaviours at school by hitting their friends, playing violently, and acting out in the classroom. Online, children are also exposed to exploitation by adults and bullying by other children.
World Vision trains school staff in programs to eliminate violence against children, including techniques to help teachers lead anti-bullying efforts. We help schools establish systems for reporting and responding to cases of violence, and train children to become online safety educators for peers, parents and caregivers.
In Armenia, nearly all children involved in a project to increase online safety (92%) and the vast majority of teachers (85%) and parents (69%) reported increased knowledge and empowerment towards keeping children safe online.
Child labour, exploitation and trafficking
Child labour is one of the most serious forms of child exploitation.
Of the estimated 168 million children engaged in child labour today, 85 million are being subjected to ‘hazardous labour’ which endangers their health and wellbeing or prevents them from gaining the skills and knowledge they need to have the brightest future possible. Trafficking, child recruitment in armed forces and forced marriage are forms of modern day slavery.
More than 650 million women alive today were married before the age of 18. In 2016, an estimated 5.6 million girls under the age of 18 became child brides.
Child marriage compromises a child’s development and severely limits her or his opportunities in life. We believe that the legal age of marriage should be set at 18 or above in every country - for both girls and boys. We work with local authorities to implement existing laws and we empower girls and boys to report cases and take action to prevent forced marriages of their peers. A global effort has prevented about 25 million child marriages over the past 10 years. However, much more needs to be done.
For tens of thousands, and maybe hundreds of thousands, of children, there is no real choice when it comes to joining armed groups. It’s kill or be killed. They are promised education, protection and a future. Once they are involved, escaping is difficult and fraught with danger.
We work with survivors, strengthening the systems and services available to them to ensure they have the chance to heal and recover. We partner with governments to help rescue children from the ranks of armed groups and reintegrate them into society. We seek to get them back into school, learning to laugh and play again in environments free from conflict. We empower children to become the peace-builders in their communities and provide them with opportunities to learn and play safely and learn skills for a better future.
Although children experience many forms of violence, in most countries around the world, the primary form of violence comes from within the family.
We’re working to protect children in their communities by forming community-based committees to create safe environments for children to live, learn, and play. We also work with faith leaders and local governments and we provide support and counseling to parents and caregivers. We support individual children and their families through scholarships, skills training, connecting them with trustworthy community networks, and other social services.
Refugees and conflict affected children
An estimated 535 million children, a quarter of the world's children, live in countries affected by conflict or disasters. Nearly 50 million have been forcibly displaced from their homes, increasing their vulnerability to exploitation and violence.
Children are the most vulnerable victims of conflict due to many factors. Besides being among the many civilian casualties during an armed conflict, children may be orphaned or separated from their families and become heads of households which leaves them vulnerable to forced labour, sexual exploitation or recruitment in armed forces.
Worldwide, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed on girls younger than 16. Almost a quarter of all trafficking victims around the world are girls, and the majority of them are being trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
We provide child survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse with shelter and help them heal and return to family and community life. We also train police personnel to address sexual crimes against children. We work with children, faith actors, media and the general population to challenge the social norms that condone sexual violence against children and against girls in particular.
In Cambodia alone, we have provided more than 1,500 child survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse with shelter and recovery care to heal and return to family and community life.