By Constance Ndeleko
Around the world, too many children still start life at a disadvantage simply because of who they are and where they are from. (Save the Children)
Prior to the pandemic there have been reported cases of violence against children globally with at least 2-17 years old experiencing physical, sexual or emotional violence or neglect each year.
In the recent days cases of violence against children have escalated especially with Covid-19 movement restriction measures and the lock down put in place; making it even worse with nowhere for children to run to or ask for safety, mostly likely for those already at the risk of violence including girls, poor children, children with disabilities, and those in fragile contexts.
In a report by Save the Children states that, “Nearly one third (32%) of households had a child, parent or caregiver who said that there had been physical or emotional violence in their home since the start of the pandemic.”
And these are just figure of cases that have been recorded. In reality there could be more cases and these children are in need for first hand help not only to save them from the endangering situation but to help them have a peaceful future for themselves and the generation to come.
The report further states that 19% of households in which violence was reported to have taken place by children had lost all or most of their household income due to COVID-19 compared to 5% when there had been no loss of income.
Violence in the household reported by children was double the rate when schools were closed (17%) compared with when schools were open and the child was attending in person (8%).
As we all understand, schools not only serve for educational drive but it is where children get their most nutritious meal of the day, it is where they get to grow and develop physically, mentally and socially learning about their abilities and it is serves them at least a safe haven for their dream to come into place and a place where they can exchange thoughts that shape them into who they will be in future.
Almost two thirds of girls (63%) reported an increase in household chores and more than half (52%) reported an increase in time spent caring for siblings and others since the pandemic began. Girls reported that this stopped them from being able to study, at twice the rate of boys.
If we don’t call upon an immediate act to put an end on violence against children then the pandemic with all its impact stances a great risk to a whole generation. We need to use the resources we have to demand for a violent free world so that children can have a moral upbringing that doesn’t endanger their future and their lives.
It is paramount to find post-covid measure that will help children from trauma, mental breakdown and healing especially those faced with violence. It doesn’t matter the magnitude of it they just all need to be assured of a violent free world where their dreams are safe.
To achieve a violent free world we need to involve everyone in the society and boldly noting that, involving children to participate in activities to put an end on violence against children is a shared responsibility. We should be allow them to exercise their rights to be heard and action to be implemented in line with the ACRWC.
This pandemic doesn’t understand boarders, it cuts across every hemisphere of this world and only with our communal obligation that can we accomplish a global response and an put an end to violence against children,