81% of children report an increase in violence during COVID-19 according to World Vision report

  • Children and young people from 50 countries warn of the surge in violence, child marriage and labour during the pandemic
  • 81% of children say they have seen or experienced violence during the pandemic, with 82% saying COVID-19 has disrupted their education
  • Children are urging world leaders to protect them from the rise in violence and consult them as nations respond to COVID

Children and young people from 50 countries are calling on governments to protect them from the violence they are experiencing due to the aftershocks of COVID-19 and to prioritise their rights as part of the global response to the pandemic, according to international aid agency World Vision. 

Act Now’, a recent child consultation study by World Vision, shows that violence has surged in the past year, as 81% of those interviewed state they have seen or faced violence in their homes, communities or online since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aid agency fears that if children are not heard and protected, even more children could be at greater risk. Figures suggest violence could increase between 20% and 32% in the future.

World Vision has already warned that up to 85 million children worldwide are at risk ofphysical, sexual and/or emotional violenceas a result of COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions, setting countries back decades in the fight against exploitation and violence against children.

Dana Buzducea World Vision International Advocacy and External Engagement Leader, says: “This year has been particularly difficult for the most vulnerable children. Coronavirus has increased pressure and threats to children globally, especially in the most fragile contexts. It is clear we have another epidemic on our hands - one of children facing increased violence.”

The study also found that the pandemic has prevented over 80% of children from accessing education in some form. The young people interviewed urged governments to prioritise education as part of the global response to the pandemic.

In every crisis children, especially the most vulnerable ones, pay the highest price. This is a crisis like no other our generation experienced and the pandemic has already decimated some children’s access to education, and vital child protection facilities such as schools, helplines and social groups have been completely inaccessible for many children who need them the most. The lockdowns that helped to slow down the spread of the virus have also locked children and young people in terrible conditions,” Buzducea added.

More than 50,000 people including children signed a World Vision global petition urging governments and institutions to increase funding for health, education and other social services that protect children from violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, World Vision has reached 24 million children with education, child protection and food and livelihood support, as part of its $350 million USD response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our experience shows that when empowered and supported, children are not passive victims but can be hidden heroes in times of need. Their input, their voices, their perspectives must be heard by decision makers. World Vision stands with children and young people as they demand that their rights are realised and we advocate for legitimate child participation and empowerment; including through meaningful intergenerational dialogue. Their voices are crucial as we work together respond to COVID-19 and build children’s lives back better in its aftermath.”


Editor Notes:

For further information or to organise and interview please contact:

Niamh Cooper |  Director of Media and Social Media Engagement | niamh_cooper@wvi.org | Skype: Niamh.cooper5 | Phone: +353 87 942 3371

To mitigate the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on families and children, and to ensure the safety of children and communities, World Vision has adapted how it works with a number of essential services and supports now temporarily provided remotely where possible. This includes remote case management, mental health and psycho-social support, gender-based violence prevention and response, parenting support, and remote learning resources and materials among other key interventions.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organisation dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.