By Constance Ndeleko
Conferring to a report by Joining Forces coalition, there’s crucial need to focus on ending violence against children in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joining Forces is a global alliance of six leading child rights organizations working in coalition to prevent and respond to violence against children across 70 countries.
The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting people all around the world, disrupting economic activities, State’ functions, livelihood normalcies and it is restructuring worldwide dynamics. And in this case, children are the significantly affected when it comes to Violence worldwide.
Prior to the Pandemic, more than half of all children worldwide lived in daily exposure to different forms of violence which costs the world’s economies US$7 trillion annually.
Jointly, the coalition(includes six aid agencies) warns that failing to prevent further escalation of violence exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak will likely increase the costs for communities and countries in the years to come.
In a statement brief
“More than one billion children are out of the education system and confined at home with caregivers who are experiencing one or various forms of duress (e.g. unemployment, depression, work from-home pressure, anxiety). For many children, home was not a safe environment to begin with; for others, the increase in stress on caregivers and close confinement in overcrowded lodgings also means new risks of violence. Children already experiencing violence at home, as well as those more vulnerable to violence such as children with disabilities and children living in conflict and fragile contexts, are at increased risk.”
A recent report by World Vision (member of the coalition) projected that as a result of three months of global lockdowns, up to 85 million more children may be at risk of physical, sexual and emotional violence than before the outbreak.
UNFPA has already predicted that 13 million more girls will be pushed into child marriage over the next ten years. Our experiences from previous catastrophes such as the Ebola outbreak show that most of these marriages will happen in the first two years of crisis, putting 4 million girls at immediate risk.
COVID-19 threatens to have life-long impacts on children’s health and well-being –World Vision, a member of joining forces, released a policy brief urging governments and change leaders to prioritize preventing and responding to violence against children as research shows that cases and forms of violence are being aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With all the above concerns, the coalition has been at the forefront to respond and prevent multiple risks of violence from COVID-19. With a response emphasis on ensuring that cases of violence against children can be recognized and that children have access to reporting mechanisms and response.
Terre des Hommes is part of Joining Forces, a coalition of six leading child rights organizations calling for child protection to be prioritized in the response to COVID-19.
Joining Forces is urging organizations for a child protection approach to the global COVID-19 response that places children at the center – upholding child rights principles, reaching the most vulnerable and with adequate funding – is essential for all children to be able to access and receive the support and services they need in these difficult times.
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