Children still experiencing unimaginable violence 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child was first ratified, World Vision says

  • 30 years on 1.7 billion children experience violence
  • Children must have a real voice at the decision-making table to bring about an end to violence
  • The Christian child-focused NGO calls on governments to accelerate the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to end violence against children and ensure that children can influence decisions affecting their lives.

November 20, 2019 – 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child became the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, over half of the world’s children – 1.7 billion – are still experiencing some form of violence every year.[1]

Although there have been great improvements in many areas such as education, access to healthcare and clean water, children are still suffering on a daily basis. Children are being forced to become child soldiers; married rather than educated and are being sexually and physically abused. 650 million girls and women alive today[2] were married before they turned 18 and over 120 million girls – more than 1 in 10 worldwide – will experience rape or sexual abuse before the age of 20.[3]

“This is happening every day. We can no longer show complacency. We have a responsibility to end violence against all children, everywhere.” Said Andrew Morley, President and CEO of World Vision.

“30 years on from this momentous treaty, there is still enormous amounts of work to do to protect children like Esther who I met in East Africa recently. She endured Female Genital Mutilation. Her family allowed her to be raped. She was forced to marry a man more than seven times her age in return for six cows. She ran away, her family marched her back to her elderly husband. She was abused again. Esther is just eight years old.”

Violence does not only violate the right to protection but also affects every right. Children experiencing violence often don’t go to school, access healthcare or have a voice. World Vision is working to ensure children’s rights across our programmes, working with governments, communities, faith leaders and children themselves to protect the most vulnerable children and ensure their voices are heard. The child focused NGO is currently running a global campaign to end violence against children with children, civil society, governments and multi-denominational faith leaders in 76 countries working together to bring about real change.

Involving children in decision-making is also essential, as Article 12 of the Convention states. Children have the right to be heard and when they are the impact is transformative. For example, child activists in Bangladesh reported stopping 72 child marriages over the past two years as part of World Vision supported Child Forums.

“Child participation is a critical enabler for making sure children's rights are fulfilled. They are experts in their own needs and rights, so it is essential that they have a real voice at the decision-making table.” Said Daniela Buzducea, World Vision International Partnership Leader for Advocacy and External Engagement.  

“The 30th anniversary is an opportunity to ensure that the next generation receives the rights they’ve been promised and that the gains we’ve made over the past 30 years are preserved and universally shared by all children. We must unite and work together, now, to protect our children and their futures, especially with an eye to ending violence and allowing children’s voices to be heard.”

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Editor’s note: Spokespersons, photos and video are available.         

About World Vision: 
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @WorldVision

[1] Violence against children: is all forms of physical, sexual and mental violence, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, harm or abuse, including commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labour, and harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage

[1] UNICEF data 

[2] Ibid

[3]Their World. Safe Schools: Their World. Safe Schools: The Hidden Crisis. London, 2018.