Source: United Nations secretary general
Four and a half years ago, the UN Secretary-General joined with global leaders and youth advocates to launch the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
Today, it is the only global entity focused solely on SDG 16.2: ending all forms of violence against children.
All children have the right to protection from violence.
But, tragically, physical, emotional and sexual abuse remain common.
Violence can infect any setting in which childhood evolves, whether it be at home, in schools or online.
Sometimes socially accepted as a normal part of growing up, it is now understood that the experience of violence in childhood can have long term impacts on mental health and well-being.
And given its scale, such violence can undermine global progress across much of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Disruptions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated these impacts and may have set back global efforts toward the achievement of SDG 16.2.
To progress on the Decade of Action to deliver on the SDGs, we must bring renewed urgency and ambition to our commitment for a safe and secure world for children.
I call on all sectors of society to mobilize at three levels.
First, we need global action to secure greater leadership, more resources and smarter solutions to end violence against children;
Second, we need local action by governments, cities and local authorities to embed proven violence prevention approaches in their policies, budgets, institutions and regulatory frameworks.
And third, we need action by people, including by children and youth, civil society, the media, the private sector and academia, to generate an unstoppable movement that challenges the social acceptance of violence against children and pushes for transformation.
By mobilizing everyone, everywhere, we can create a world in which every child grows up free from fear and violence.
In the city of Puerto Cortés, Honduras, 16-year-old Geraldine has been bullied repeatedly at school. “I suffered physical abuse. I changed schools, but it went on,” she says. “I was hit hard in the face. Nobody said ‘I’m sorry’. I became depressed and started cutting myself,” she adds. “I thought schools were supposed to support you, not destroy you.”
By demanding urgency and ambition, we can hold leaders to account and point out what is possible.
And by supporting ideas and solutions, we can shine a light on and scale up interventions that are effective in preventing violence.
Together we can #ENDviolence against children.