Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department for the Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention says experiencing violence in childhood has lifelong impacts on the health and well-being of children.
“We must not tolerate that half of the world’s children suffer violence each year,” explains Dr Krug saying the impact does not only stay with the children, but with families and communities as well
“The sad fact is that we know what needs to be done, yet we do not do it. Violence is not inevitable. Its causes are understood and it can be prevented; only the will is needed.”
This was contained in a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency ahead of the “The Agenda 2030 for Children: End Violence Solutions Summit” scheduled for Stockholm, Sweden from February 14 to 15.
“Evidence-based measures include; those reflected in the WHO-led “INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children”, namely: implementing and enforcing laws, norms and values change, safe environments, parent and caregiver support, income and economic strengthening response services provision and education and life skills.
Up to one billion children aged 2-17 years globally or one in two children have suffered physical, sexual or emotional violence or neglect in 2017.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that it would be joining global efforts aimed at promoting solutions, and reinforcing global commitments, to end all forms of violence against children.
WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, will participate.
Also participating would be the Queen of Sweden, 30 ministers, the heads of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as senior officials from development agencies, foundations and non-governmental organisations.
The statement said violence was the second leading cause of death in boys aged 10-19 years, with a global homicide rate for that age group of seven per 100,000 populations.
Across their lives, more than one in five children have experienced physical abuse, while more than one in three children have experienced emotional abuse.
Around 18 of girls and 8 per cent of boys have experienced sexual abuse and strong evidence shows that the consequences of violence go much beyond death and injury as children who are exposed to violence were likely to smoke, misuse alcohol and drugs, and engage in high-risk sexual behaviour, and likely to attempt suicide and endure a range of illnesses later in the life like anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, cancer and HIV.
The WHO’s work on violence prevention is reflected in its “Global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system to address violence” and in its 13th General Programme of Work 2019-2023.