Violence against children is a phenomenon happening worldwide, in forms of physical, psychological violence. Children are deprived of care and education, child abuse, neglect, exploitation, forced to beg, trafficked. Boys and girls are at equal risk of physical and emotional abuse and neglect and girls are at greater risk of sexual abuse. Violence against children takes many forms, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Children are still one of the social groups at risk, facing many problems that remain unresolved. Although the consequences may vary according to the type and severity of the violence, the short and long –term consequences for children are very often serious and destructive and are costly. Violence in all its forms is a global public health problem. While violence has always been part of human experiences, its impact in terms of morbidity, morality, human cost of grief and pain and the effect on the most vulnerable populations, is incalculable. Violence against children (VAC), which incorporates the terms maltreatment, violence exploitation and abuse these terms are often used interchangeably is both a human –rights violation and a personal and public health problem that incurs huge costs for both individuals and society. We know that in purely economic terms, the burden of child maltreatment in the Asia Pacific region is substantial, affecting a vast number of children in this region. Since 1982, the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) has published data on child maltreatment (CM) every two years in their world perspective on child Abuse. These publications are of great importance, not only for describing various of child maltreatment and identifying trends globally; but also in evaluating the differences in national policy, reporting system and legislation. However, the unifying modern child protection movement which ISPCAN has been part of stems from the acceptance of two inspiring ideas that children are subjects of human rights and not objects of protection and, that children are psychological beings. All children have the right to protection from violence, regardless of the nature or severity of the act and all forms of violence can cause harm to children, reduce their sense of self-worth, affront their dignity and hinder their development. Examining global patterns of violence as well as attitudes and social norms sheds light on that issue has remained largely undocumented. Children who have been severely abused or neglect are often hampered in their development, experience learning difficulties and perform poorly at school. They may have low self- esteem and suffer from depression, which can lead, at worst, to risk behaviour and self- harm. The process of understanding and addressing violence against children will continue to be fraught with difficulties. Over the last decades, recognition of the pervasive nature and impact of violence against children has grown. Still, the phenomenon remains largely undocumented and underreported. This can be considered to a variety of reasons, including the facts that some forms of violence against children are socially accepted, unexpressed condoned or not perceived as being abusive. A Review of studies from several developing countries shows the globally a majority (80 -98%) of the children suffer from physical punishment in their families and at home (UNO, 2006), UNICEF (2006) reported that annually 133 to 275 million children have witnessed domestic violence in their families.
At least 30 per cent of the children are victims of severe violence from the instrument (UNO-2006). As reported by the WHO (2002) in Egypt, 37 % of all children face severe physical punishment from their parents, comparable with an observation from the republic of Korea (45%)Romania (50%) Ethiopia (64%) India,( 36%)and Philippines (21%) besides physical abuse, children are also often victims of emotional and psychological abuse at their homes. Data is comparable with an observation from Chile (84%) India (70%), the Philippines (82%) and the US (85%) as reported by the WHO(2002).
RISK AND FACTORS OF VIOLENCE
Poverty is reported as the most profound background risk factor for violence against children. However, with the normalization of violence different societies need more context dependents risk factor analysis of domestic violence and child abuse.
RISK FACTORS OF CHILD ABUSE
Different forms of child abuse are a result of a complex interactive process.
At the individual level- unwanted pregnancy, low birth weight, medical complication and disabilities and overall children of younger age are differentiated as risk factors (WHO, 2002)
AT FAMILY LEVEL
Domestic violence is a major risk factor for child abuse with the following risk factors, parents personal history of abuse as a child, teenage, parents, single parents, lack of coping skills, low self-esteem, social isolation, parental stress as a complex factors of socioeconomic pressure and the parent’s alcohol and drug abuse (WHO, 2002)
AT THE SOCIETY LEVEL AND COMMUNITY
Physical violence and child neglect are closely associated with poverty-related stress, High unemployment rate, high level of neighbourhood criminal activities, lack of social and community services, shortage of supports from extended family and community levels, unavailability and inability to afford a minimum level of health care facilities are also identified a contributing risk factors.
CONSEQUENCES OF VIOLENCE
Child abuse has significant consequences on children’s wellbeing, included several medical and psychological problems like depression, eating disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD), chronic pain syndromes, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. Moreover, the effects of such abuse are likely to be long-term. As adults, formerly abused children report poor health status use more health care facilities and opt for risk-taking behaviours including smoking alcohol and drug abuse and unsafe sex. (WHO,2002)
IMPACT OF VIOLENCE
The impact of violence is not only on the child but also on the family and society too. And if the violence is against children then such violence cause impact for a lifetime, the fear and terror of infancy is not easily gone till adulthood also. Some of the impact of violence are as follow:-
The most potential consequence of violence on the child is death. The death caused to a child is punishable under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act 2012. The WHO calculates that as many as 53,000 children are murdered worldwide each year.[i] Research also suggests that the ‘intent to punish’ is a common precursor in many child homicide cases.[ii] This indicates that the infliction of corporal punishment is inherently dangerous and has been shown to result in exclusively negative outcomes, the most severe of which is death.
Some injury caused due to violence against the children which could lead to some serious injury and hurt that can never be undone forever. And the child has to live with it for his whole life the process of physical and cognitive development is on-going.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is one of the most threatening consequence of the violence. It causes stress to the child and it can lead to the whole mental health problem also. This disorder can lead to physical problems to the body also and it will affect the further education of the child.
If the violence is in childhood then it seems to make the child serious illnesses in adult life (such as chronic heart, lung or liver disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol). And it only violence towards young children is associated with increased susceptibility to asthma, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and flu.
ESTIMATING THE BURDEN
The magnitude and burden of VAC globally is hard to comprehend. Violence affects more than one billion children, in every county and every community, every year.
According to UNICEF, globally children’s experience of violence includes-
Homicides- In 2012, homicides took the lives of about 95,000 children and adolescents almost one in five of all homicides victims that year.
Physical punishments- Around six in ten children between the ages of two and 14 are regularly subjected to physical punishment by their caregivers.
More than one in three students between the ages of 13 and 15 regularly experience bullying. (physical assault, teasing, making threats, name-calling, cyberbullying)
Around 120 million girls under the age of 20 (about one in ten) have been subjected to forced sexual intercourses or other sexual acts at some points in their lives.
Intimate partner violence – one in three adult girl aged 15-19 yrs worldwide have been the victims of any emotional, physical or sexual violence committed by their husbands or partners at some point in their lives,20 % of adult girls are either married or in union. It is important to be aware of all the contexts of violence within the home including the abuse of animals and exposure to violent media including television, internet and violent video games. The WHO defines IPV as any behaviour within an intimate relationship that cause, physical or sexual harm to a relationship.
School is a place where should be safe, secure and happy and where the threat of violence in non- existent. Sadly, in many countries, it is a place where children face emotional and physical abuse from both fellow pupils and from teachers. Forms of violence perpetrated by children and young people include bullying, sexual and gender-based violence, and assault with weapons.
Child labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to their physical and mental development. Child labour is a global phenomenon, around 168 million children work, many full-time world-wide. More than half of the 85 million, are still in hazardous work. Asia and Pacific still has the largest numbers (almost 78 million or 9.3% of child population), but sub- Saharan Africa continues to be the region with the highest numerals of child labour (59 million, over 21%). It is essentially a socio-economic problem, inextricably linked to poverty and illiteracy. It not only prevents children from acquiring the skills and educations they need for a better future. Children are trafficked into a range of exploitative practices including labour, domestic work, sexual exploitation, military conscription marriage, illicit adoption, sport, begging and organ harvesting. According to an estimate by UNICEF (2007) 218 million children aged between 5-17 years are engaged as a child labourer, excluding the child domestic workers. India currently has 17 million child labourers in organised sectors, who contribute up to 20 percent of the Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and another 46 million children are working in the unorganised sectors.
WHAT WORKS IN PREVENTING VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN
In 2016, ten majors international organizations and campaigns launched INSPIRE, evidence-based resources packages of strategies to end violence against children. The seven prioritised strategies includes-
· Implementation and enforcement of laws (for example, banning violent discipline and restricting access to alcohol and firearms);
· Norms and values change (for example, altering norms that condone the sexual abuse of girls or aggressive behaviour among boys);
· Safe environments (such as identifying neighbourhood “hot spots” for violence and then addressing the local causes through problem-oriented policing and other interventions);
· Parental and caregiver support (for example, providing parent training to young, first-time parents);
· Income and economic strengthening (such as microfinance and gender equity training);
· Response services provision (for example, ensuring that children who are exposed to violence can access effective emergency care and receive appropriate psychosocial support); and
· Education and life skills (such as ensuring that children attend school, and providing life and social skills training).
These are the some of the prevention method of the WHO to prevent violence against the children, some of the other methods can also be adopted by government follow as:
1. Raise awareness about the violence and abuse. Knowledge is the power, and awareness bring the support to others also.
2. Build a rigid law on the violence of the children which should give them a proper punishment for their offence.
3. Organize your Community and create such a powerful community so all can come together and fight against such a big crime in the society.
Here 5 ways we can help to stop violence against children-
1- Recognize the signs- the first step in helping to prevent domestic violence is to recognize the signs. To be sure, it may be difficult to recognize when a child is being abused, as signs are not always visible to the eyes.
2- Provide Resources- whether it is providing support classes for parents, teaching them child care and parenting strategies, or helping with economic support and stability during times of difficulty, struggling parents and families need help and support.
3- Raise Awareness- knowledge is power, and awareness bring advocacy. Educate those around you about the realities of domestic abuse and violence.
4- Organize your community- faith-based organization, civic groups, schools, community leaders, and locals and state legislature can all come together to both fight child abuse.
5- Report- if you know of an incident of child abuse or domestic violence, it needs to be reported, and it needs to be reported by you now. Call the police, call local law enforcement, call 911, or call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Do not try to intervene or become involved in the situation, as it could lead to additional danger.
Child maltreatment by parents and caregivers can be prevented by-
1- Reducing unintended pregnancies;
2- Reducing harmful levels of alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and use by new parents;
3- Improving access to high-quality pre-and postnatal services;
4- Providing home visitation services by professional nurses and social workers to families where children are at high risk of maltreatment;
Violence involving children in a community setting can be prevented through-
1- Pre-school enrichment programmes to give young children an educational head start;
2- Life skill training;
3- Assisting high- risk adolescents to complete schooling;
4- Restricting access to firearms.
WHO supports countries to collect data and information related to violence against children, develop national violence prevention policies and programmes, and creates systems for the provision of appropriate medico-legal and emergency trauma care.
RECOMMENDATION FOR ACTION ON VIOLENCE CHILDREN
Despite the enormity of the problem, the substantial costs and the disproportionate burden of VAC for those in low – middle-income countries, we know that 2015 the total development assistance spent to address this area was less than 1.1 billion, i.e less than 0.6% of spending. We would strongly advocate that a child –rights-based approach is at the core of any action on VAC. Children’s rights as laid out in the UNCRC provide a framework for understanding the range of violence, harm and exploitation of children at the individual, institutional, and societal levels. Recommendations for action require commitments at the global, regional and national levels. Domestic violence prevention strategies should be looked for within family and community settings. Restraining children from witnessing and facing violence reduce the risk of future domestic violence. Therefore, policymaker should target to improve the socio-economic situations of children in developing countries. Poverty, unemployment and illiteracy promote disadvantage family and neighbourhood. Therefore, economic development along with sustainable economic growth may or not only reduce the economic disparities but also may act as protecting factor for domestic violence against children. However, more such studies are warranted from developing countries to confirm the positive effect of higher education on the prevention of violence and to estimate economic losses.
Actual risk of child labour by themselves indicates that poverty, large family size and illiteracy along with socio-economic, cultural and psychological causes and circumstances of their violent behaviour over generations. In the context of gender imbalance and poverty, well-established risks of family abuse have a relative prevalence in rural. Therefore, men play the main role in violence against children. The cost calculation model with supplementary variables contributed to a better understanding of the total economic burden on the families.