Yesterday at the United Nations children joined world leaders to launch a new partnership and fund to make ending violence a public priority and a collective responsibility.
End Violence Against Children – The Global Partnership brings together governments, foundations, the UN, civil society, academia, the private sector and young people in driving action toward achieving the new global target to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children.
“The Global Partnership to End Violence against Children is mobilizing the world,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “There could be no more meaningful way to help realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The world’s governments set ambitious targets to end violence by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Working through the Global Partnership, governments and organizations can pool their resources and expertise to make accelerated progress toward this critical goal.
“Every day, in every country and every community, children are victimized by violence – and far too often, this violence is accepted as normal, permissible, or a private matter,” said Susan Bissell, Director of the Global Partnership. “Violence against children is not inevitable – if we challenge the status quo that harms the lives and futures of so many children. Every child has the right to grow up free from violence – and we all need to work together to realize that vision.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that in the past year as many as 1 billion children around the world have experienced physical, sexual, or psychological violence. Globally, one in four children suffer physical abuse. Nearly one in five girls is sexually abused at least once in her life. Every five minutes, a child dies as a result of violence.
“Violence against children is a problem shared by every society – so the solution must also be shared,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, who serves as founding co-Chair of the Global Partnership Board. “When we protect children from violence we not only prevent individual tragedies and support children’s development and growth. In doing so, we also support the strength and stability of their societies.”
In coordination with the United Kingdom, the multi-donor trust fund has been established to support the Global Partnership. The UK Government is making a £40m contribution to catalyze the Fund in collaboration with the WePROTECT Global Alliance. The UK funding will be dispersed over the next four years and will focus on ending online child sexual exploitation.
“Online child sexual exploitation is a global crime that transcends borders, and demands a global response,” said Baroness Joanna Shields, UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security. “This important new Fund will help tackle this abhorrent crime and protect children no matter where they live in the world. I encourage countries and organizations to seek this funding, and to support the Fund’s work to tackle the violence our children face online, in their everyday lives, and in places affected by conflict and crisis.”
At the launch event, government ministers from Sweden, Mexico, Indonesia and Tanzania committed to developing specific plans that will combat violence against children, including tackling behaviours and traditions that further violence, making schools and institutions safe for all children, and strengthening data collection about violence and children, among other efforts.
The Global Partnership today also launched the new INSPIRE package of seven proven strategies to prevent violence against children, created with the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC, End Violence Against Children, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Together for Girls, UNICEF, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank. Drawing from decades of research and building on the progress made so far, the new INSPIRE strategies include parent and caregiver support programs, life skills training, the implementation and enforcement of laws, and services for victims.
The launch of the Global Partnership includes the premier of a new PSA featuring Liam Neeson, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and international children’s peace prize winners from Liberia and the Philippines. The PSA tells the story of the impact of violence from the perspective of children, and includes powerful appeals from Åsa Regnér, Sweden’s Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, Elisabeth Dahlin, Secretary General of Save the Children Sweden, Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility for the Ericsson Group worldwide, and others – all calling on governments, societies, communities, and families to #ENDViolence against children.