Aid agency warns of cracks in efforts to end violence against children

Thursday, July 11 (United Nations, New York) – As countries report on their progress to end poverty by 2030 this week in New York, World Vision cautions leaders to pay close attention to the cracks that are threatening progress.

Cracks in laws, data, coordination, accountability and funding are becoming gaps that ruin children’s lives and futures. That’s the finding of a new report released today, Small cracks, big gaps: how governments allow violence against children to persist at the UN High-Level Political Forum.

“There’s no doubt there is widespread motivation and dedication to ending the horror of violence against children that still affects more than 1.7 billion children every year. But good intentions alone are not enough to paper over the cracks revealed by our analysis,” said Andrew Hassett, World Vision’s global campaign director, in New York.

The report, based on an extensive analysis of 20 countries’ policies and laws across the world, delves into why 30 years after governments all over the world ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so many children are still being pushed into early marriage, forced to work in dangerous, degrading and hazardous conditions and face violence and abuse in the places they should be most safe.

“We found that while some progress has been made to end violence against children, commitments have not been matched by action, leaving significant cracks in laws, policies and funding. Adopting the Sustainable Development Goals four years ago, and broader commitments to ending violence against children in all its forms, have not resulted in the substantial action required to bring about real change.

“Significant gaps in laws, policies and funding remain, with dire consequences for children and communities,” said Hassett.

Investment in ending violence against children not only saves their lives and futures, but has a ripple effect, building strong societies and economies. And yet, we are far from a world in which every child has legal protection from violence.

“It is disturbing how many countries still have not made violence against children illegal. We still believe a world without violence against children is possible. But it will take a lot more effort and attention from governments, supported by people and organisations around the world who with us believe no child should experience violence,” said Hassett.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals means tackling the things that have, until now, been too hard. This means prioritising the children who go unheard, unseen, whose lives can change in an instant. It means listening to them, including them in decision-making, and ensuring that they have ways they can hold leaders to account, when commitments do not translate into practice.

“It’s time to seal up the cracks, fill in the gaps, and end violence against children in every country.”