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Protecting children from violence in the time of COVID-19: Disruptions in prevention and response services


Violence is an all-too-real part of life for children around the globe –regardless of their economic circumstances and sociocultural background – with both immediate and long-term consequences. Available data indicate that children’s experience of violence is widespread, taking different forms: About half the world’schildren are subjected to corporal punishment at home; roughly 3 in 4 children between the ages of 2 and 4 years receive violent discipline by parents and other primary caregivers; half of students aged 13 to 15 experience peer violence in and around school; and 1 in 3 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have been victims of intimate partner violence.

As daily lives and communities are upended by COVID-19, concern is mounting that violence against children may increase. Children with a history of abuse may find themselves even more vulnerable, both at home and online, and may experience more frequent and severe acts of violence. Others may be victimized for the first time.

A new UNICEF publication, Protecting Children from Violence in the Time of COVID-19: Disruptions in prevention and response services, documents what has happened to such services across the world:

  • 1.8 billion children live in the 104 countries where violence prevention and response services have been disrupted due to COVID-19
  • Case management and home visits for children and women at risk of abuse are among the most commonly disrupted services
  • Around two thirds of countries with disruptions reported that at least one type of service had been severely affected; however, 70 per cent of countries reported that mitigation measures had been put into place

Learn more about UNICEF's data work on violence against children:

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