Violence Against Children in the Community

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from the UN Report 2006, annotated with recent related events

from the UN Report 2006, annotated with recent related events

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  • Boys encouraged to exhibit aggressive masculinity, weapons skills, private codes of loyalty and revenge, and general risk-taking Girls in Africa and Asia report attacked when they fetch water, fuel or fodder Older children encounter violence in intimate dating relationships, sports and recreational activities, in the context of religious organizations, and political or social movements
  • Physical Violence - noted at around the age of 15, indicating that a number of factors come together at adolescence to make physical violence – including much that is between teenagers – more common. Such violence follows clear patterns in respect of where it occurs, when it occurs, whom it is most likely to affect, and factors (such as alcohol use and economic inequality) associated with its occurrence. Being highly predictable, in principle, it is preventable through population-level interventions. Homicide Mostly ages 15-17 and mostly boys occurs even in regions with low overall homicide rates low rates of adolescent homicide tend to be in Western Europe or in Asia, while the countries with high rates tend to be in the Americas and Africa perpetrators are often friends or acquaintances of the victim, and that much of this homicidal violence occurs in neighbourhoods and local hang-outs, and is linked to inter-personal arguments which develop into fights – over girls, possessions, rivalries, broken loyalties or group codes – and to intoxication with liquor or drugs. Non-fatal physical violence minor to severe injuries- Severe injuries may require resource intensive emergency medical treatment and inpatient care and result in lifelong disabilities such brain damage, paraplegia, or may require amputation or homicide Violence within adolescent intimate and dating relationships physical violence and psychological violence; with physical violence rarely occurring in the absence of psychological violence, such as name-calling, insults, swearing, and threats of physical violence
  • Coerced first sex Child marriages, perpetrated by peers Common in those married before 15 Sexual violence by strangers in the Community more commonly perpetrated by someone known to the child, either from the family or within the family circle, but people outside these circles also perpetrate a significant number of sexual assaults on children in many countries in some cases, sexual violence is accompanied by or associated with abduction or trafficking
  • Violence against children living on the street Children on the street and children of the street – street children (children of the street) as those visible on the streets that have actually adopted the street as their habitat; children on the street as those who have functioning families who rarely or never goes home Murder, brutality, sexual abuse, recruitment by pimps and traffickers Sex in exchange for food or shelter HIV and violence in the community Children whose parents are ill because of HIV/AIDS or those who have been orphaned by the disease Stigma, discrimination, rejection by peers Psychosocial trauma can continue even when orphans move to foster families or to extended families vulnerable to abuse (physical, emotional and sexual) from extended family members and other members of their communities, and girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse Violence by police children’s presence on the street equates with ‘juvenile delinquency’, places many children at risk of police violence widespread brutality, including beatings, sexual assault, and torture; may take place casually on the street; during arrest on the way to the police station; and subsequently in police lock-ups Violence by other authority figures sports coaches, religious authorities, youth club workers, and teachers Violence against sexual minorities violence against young lesbians, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered individuals encouraged by some laws; discriminatory attitudes are also ingrained in both traditional and popular culture Violence against child refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons estimated 19.2 million refugees and displaced people globally physical insecurity can be a serious problem in camps and settlements for refugees and displaced persons, particularly in terms of gender-based violence (i.e., lack secure buildings, good lighting, regular law enforcement, sanctuary for survivors of attack, and means of reporting and redress selling sex to camp officials, humanitarian workers, peace workers, and Government employers, usually because of extreme want (Liberia) May help: family support, structured education and recreational activities, culturally relevant forms of counselling Trafficking of children Estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year (ILO, 2003) Infants trafficked for the US adoption market Children for begging (Cambodia, Thai, Romania to other parts of Europe) may involve abduction, but in many cases it begins with deception or enticement (through parents) low-paid domestic work to prostitution, or labour on agricultural plantations Victims often face stigma if they manage to escape: because they are viewed as immoral or ‘ unclean’, girls are often rejected by their family and community, and may return to a life of prostitution. A trafficked child is generally undocumented and often unable to speak the language of the host country, so will have difficulty in finding or reaching home. In many cases, children go home to unchanged social circumstances, and so risk being re-trafficked
  • classified by ILO Convention No. 182 as a worst form of child labour (WFCL) to be eliminated as a matter of urgency, irrespective of a country’s level of development IACAT, which is tasked to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the law is composed of the Secretary of the Department of Justice as chairperson, the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development as co-chairperson, and the a significant list of government agencies as members (i.e., the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment, the Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration, the Chief of the Philippine National Police, the Chairperson of the Philippine Commission on Women, the Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, the Executive Director of the Philippine Center for Transnational Crimes, and three representatives from NGOs, who shall include one (1) representative each from among the sectors representing women, overseas Filipinos, and children, with a proven record of involvement in the prevention and suppression of trafficking in persons. ECPAT currently implements Children and Youth Empowerment Program (CYEP), which mobilizes the youth as leaders in preventing commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). The program includes direct services (i.e., educational assistance, medical and psychological services and legal support for healing, recovery and reintegration). ECPAT actively campaigns against CSEC especially but not limited to travel and tourism and child pornography, among others.
  • Individual and family factors individual factors (biological make-up and personal history of both the child and his or her family members) and relationship factors (how the child interacts with parents and siblings) which affect the likelihood that a child will become a victim or perpetrator of violence The important point to draw from this is that while these risk factors are located at individual and family level, it is at community level that many of the key preventive interventions and responses to violence must be delivered.
  • Three of the most important key situational factors that can precipitate violent events are: widespread access to firearms, alcohol consumption, and the characteristics of the physical environment. Firearms Adolescents and young adults are the primary victims and perpetrators of firearm-related violence in almost every region of the world Alcohol Young people may use alcohol to bolster their self-confidence, and their aggression levels may increase and escalate to produce violent confrontations, while impaired physical control and ability to interpret warning signals in dangerous situations may make some young drinkers targets for perpetrators Young people are more likely than the older population to engage in heavy episodic drinking, and there is a growing concern that a youth culture of alcohol abuse is spreading. Physical environment Physical design should be responsive to safety, bolster community pride The increasing concentration of poverty can result in physical and social deterioration of neighbourhoods, resulting in housing disinvestment, deteriorated physical conditions, and reduced ability of formal and informal institutions to maintain public order. Special mention: Forced evictions - often accompanied by violence, particularly against women and children who are most likely to be at home when such a procedure is carried out. Gangs Violence directed outside the gang and against its members who fail the gang, refuse to carry out a leader’s order, or are in breach of its internal rules physical and verbal aggression Reasons for joining gangs: lack of nurturing and emotional support at home, as a means of achieving economic sufficiency or feeling safe, to find a positive cultural identity focus solely on repression will tend to be ineffective for several reasons: it does not deal with the root causes of the problem; the juvenile justice and penal systems in most countries affected by this problem are inadequate and worsen the problem; and armed groups tend to become more organised and increasingly violent when faced only with repressive tactics Situations of unrest or conflict exposed children to mass kidnapping and abduction, so they can perform as fighters, porters, or be in support positions; girls have been used as sexual slaves During turbulent times in Somalia’s southern and central regions, for example, one of the only ‘jobs’ available to young men was in clan militias, without whose protection civilian businesses or aid operations cannot function
  • COTABATO CITY – For “giving up arms,” at least 20 child-soldiers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) got educational benefits under a regional government program with international funding agencies, an official said. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has consistently denied it used minors as combatants and that children seen inside rebel camps were from MILF fighters’ families. The MILF said their camps also doubled as communities for rebel fighters and their families. But an official of an Australian government-funded education program had said that the children’s presence inside rebel camps was enough to consider them child combatants. Myra Ali, secretary of the regional labor office, said the child combatants that were given educational benefits would be provided training by the Technical Skills Development Authority (Tesda). The program, she said, was being supported by the government’s foreign partners. Rashad Hassan, US special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, had said that Washington supported programs that would lure away children from actual participation in conflicts. Hassan noted that armed conflict in the Southern Philippines has to some extent enlisted young people into combat training and militia works — which, he said, was cause for concern to everyone. In Zamboanga City, the military raised an alarm over the recruitment of minors by the Abu Sayyaf. The recruitment was uncovered with the arrest of a 12-year old child during the November 14 raid by authorities on a suspected Abu sayyaf lair in Sumisip, Basilan, according to Philippine Army’s spokersperson Major Harold Cabunoc. The child, who is in fourth grade, has since been turned over to social welfare officials, he said. “ The Army is requesting the help of various government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Education Department including local government officials regarding the presence of child soldiers among the lawless elements that are hunted down by our government forces,” Cabunoc told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone on Friday. He said the Army was also urging local officials “to monitor the recruitment of young boys to join in any armed group.” “ They can help by persuading the parents not to allow their children to be used as pawns in armed clashes,” Cabunoc said. Read more: Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook
  • Rapid acceleration of urbanisation in developing countries during the second half of the 20th century Urbanisation Relocation accompanied by social changes, lack of economic opportunity for those in the lowest educational, lowest skilled and lowest socio-economic groups resulting to frustration, unrest, potentially leading to violence Although urbanisation has historically been accompanied by lower rates of child mortality, increased access to education, and improvements across all social indicators, it also has negative aspects including poverty, inequality, changes in family structure and the breakdown of social networks – factors that all contribute to violence Poverty, inequality and social exclusion maybe wealthier societies are able to provide a higher level of protection and social support for their poor communities than those at a lower level of overall economic development Theory: imbalance between concentrations of affluence and poverty in the same urban area could be an important predictor of community variations in interpersonal violence Social exclusion as a result of rapid pace of social and political change, and economic globalisation; i.e., unemployment, discrimination, poor housing, low incomes, poor skills, high crime, ill-health, family breakdown Social exclusion and digital divide
  • According to experts, the apparent increasing interest in images of abuse may be associated with the way the online environments allow for expression that is not generally tolerated in other environments – lowered inhibitions, users can alter their mood, recreate themselves sometimes with multiple self-representations, validate and justify the exchange of abusive images with others, challenge concepts of regulation, and disrupt conventional hierarchies Media violence may give children unrealistic ideas about violence in real life promote consumer envy, and underline the gap between the lifestyles of the haves and have-nots, and thus lead to petty or violent crime Cyber-bullying - because someone had published misleading information about them online
  • cyberbullying has started creeping among Filipino children and teens at an alarming rate cyber stalking and cyber bullying are relatively new phenomenon in the country. This is the reason why there are no laws specifically pertaining thereto as of the present time. Supreme Court order temporarily halting implementation of the Anti-Cybercrime Law NBI considers Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Law for cases involving children 14 years and below (cannot be charged) and 15 to 17 (for sending to child rehabilitation facilities) DepEd Order No. 40, series of 2012 – Child Protection Policy – protection against abuse including cyberbullying
  • Practical lessons from the field of violence prevention and public health: Not all prevention strategies work, and certainly not in all communities Integrated prevention efforts over time that link the contributions of different sectors are necessary (if difficult to achieve) Top-down and bottom-up approaches are both required.
  • Reducing truancy and returning dropouts to school Research suggests that one of the most effective means of preventing violence and crime among certain high-risk children is to provide incentives for them to complete schooling, obtain vocational training and pursue higher education. Quality schooling, which embraces learning, support for non-discrimination, and activities to support child protection in the community Non-formal learning opportunities Community-based programmes can reach out to such children and re-introduce them to formal education via non-formal or ‘catch-up’ programmes. Mentoring programmes valuable for children from minority groups, or for those from difficult circumstances such as refugees and displaced persons Programmes with and for children living on the street Examples include drop-in centres, shelters, and other places of safety where trusted adults, food, washing facilities, education and skills-building, and other support may be available. Sport and youth activities properly supervised, community-based activities for children – from sports and youth clubs to social, cultural and faith-based groups can be useful in building protective factors such as self-confidence and developing children’s potential to prevent violence. Life skills-based education can include a wide variety of topics, for instance: learning how to avoid unwanted sexual intimacy; gaining practice in forming views and expressing them; developing problem-solving and negotiating skills, including conflict resolution by non-violent means; improving interaction between children and community authorities (including the police and judiciary), outreaching workers in health and social affairs, and others the children may need to know how to approach Safe Dates Project in the USA - a successful school-based intervention that aimed to change attitudes on dating violence within both the school and the community Peer facilitators – youth peer education (on HIV, FP/RH… Community-level situational prevention Promoting norms and values that promote respect and peaceful conflict resolution public information or prevention campaigns aimed at changing community attitudes, beliefs and norms surrounding the use of violence…. But such campaigns, when implemented in isolation, have not consistently led to changes in behaviour or to a reduction in violence Police reform and training at community level Training and motivation (tried in India – led to improved relations between police and children working in the informal sector) has also been proved largely ineffective in changing police behaviour, where it is not accompanied by, or reinforced by, efforts to change attitudes and organisational culture {have to be part of a wider strategy} Accountability, and access to justice State violence and corruption are two factors directly associated with violence in communities. Ensure punishment for police and authorities who continue to violate children’s rights and inflict violence to children Essentials: provide marginalized groups access to justice and legal assistance Community organisations against trafficking Emphasis on the role of civil society taking action to fend off the economic pressures that face families in difficult situations Providing safe physical environments alter the physical environment of communities in order to reduce the risk of violence by and towards children Services for victims of violence Improving pre-hospital care systems and emergency medical responses improve pre-hospital and emergency medical responses to reduce case-fatality ratios and disabilities due to violence in community settings Recovery, reintegration and rehabilitation services physical rehabilitation, counselling services, and social worker follow-up to assist social reintegration Important in creating community confidence and ensure timely access Reporting services Child helpline (Bantay Bata 163) To be continued…..
  • The poster as seen by an adult (left) and as an under-10 would see it (right), showing a helpline number and the message 'if somebody hurts you, phone us and we will help you.'  Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
  • Economic opportunity and equality Access to positive livelihood and the possibility of upward mobility by improving employment and education opportunities, may be effective in reducing violent behaviour by young people – In the US, young people in families that received rental subsidies and assistance to move out of poor neighbourhoods were significantly less likely to engage in violent behaviour than those who did not receive this level of support Reducing access to alcohol and illegal drugs reduce access to alcohol or raise its price have been shown to reduce both levels of consumption and rates of youth violence within the community alter peer drinking habits and other social norms can reduce harmful alcohol consumption levels among young people legislation on the legal minimum age for purchase of alcohol, and efforts to regulate liquor outlets. Reducing access to, and demand for weapons bans on certain types of firearms, waiting periods, gun buybacks, rules on licensing and registration, stricter policing of illegal possession and trafficking of guns and rules for storing them safely Reducing exposure to violence in the media Campaign for parents Creation of ‘watchdog’ organisations which monitor offensive websites, and both regulation and self-regulation of the Internet industry
  • High-risk individuals and families Support efforts to prevent violence in the family and home as a means of preventing violence in the community. Support programmes that encourage at-risk children to stay in or return to school, or to participate in non-formal education programmes. Implement programmes that engage responsible and trusted adults in the lives of high-risk children. Promote and support local Government and civil society initiatives to provide safe recreational and citizenship-building opportunities for boys and girls. Immediate and environment risk factors in the community Reduce demand for and access to alcohol and weapons, such as firearms Reduce risk factors in the physical environment. Train law enforcement agents to work with children, and end impunity of police who abuse the rights of children. Increase efforts to both prevent and punish child trafficking. Victim services Provide improved pre-hospital care and emergency medical services. Improve access and quality of support services for victims. Provide effective reporting systems for children. Societal level Invest in social, housing and educational programmes that strengthen families and improve linkages and social networks within and between different income groups. Conduct sustained campaigns in society at large to promote social norms that emphasise respect and non-violence and gender equity. Stop the use of mass media and information technologies, including the Internet and electronic games, in violence against and sexual exploitation of children. Build information systems Implement civil registration universally, including the registration of births, deaths, and marriages. Establish a national research agenda on preventing and reducing community violence.


  • 1. Violence Against Children in the Community (From the UN Report on Violence Against Children 2006)
  • 2. Discussion Flow Human Rights Instruments Background and Context Nature and Extent of the Problem Factors Contributing to Violence Responses to VAC in the Community Recommendations
  • 3. HR Instruments imposed on States, and only States or their agents can commit human rights violations State obligation for human rights violations is incurred if the State or its agents violate the terms of a treaty which the State has accepted. State obligation is also incurred if the State fails to ensure children’s rights to protection against violence by permitting such violence, or failing to take appropriate measures, or to exercise due diligence to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by the acts of individuals, groups or entities.
  • 4. Background and Context Poverty-stricken areas are settings for exposure to violence (i.e., lack of employment, poor standards of housing, over-crowding and low standards of education and social amenities)
  • 5. Nature and Extent of the Problem Physical violence homicide non-fatal physical violence violence within adolescent intimate and dating relationships) psychological effects of witnessing violence
  • 6. Nature and Extent of the Problem Sexual violence coerced first sex sexual violence by strangers in the community
  • 7. Nature and Extent of the Problem Issues of special concern Children living on the streets HIV and violence in the communities violence by police violence by other authority figures violence against child refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons trafficking of children
  • 8. Child Trafficking •Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt, whether by force or not, by a third person or group •Asia has the highest number of child trafficking victims (ILO, 2005) •Philippines: •RA 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 ; established the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) •Bantay Bata 163 •End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (IACAT)
  • 9. Factors Contributing to Violence Individual and family factors individual factors and relationship factors may be identifiable by trained professionals such as teachers, social workers or medical staff, but also by members of the community
  • 10. Factors Contributing to Violence Situational Factors Firearms Alcohol Physical Environment Gangs Situations of unrest or conflict
  • 11. Children in Conflict Situations children from the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) o42.1% (822,634) of Palestinian children were living below the poverty nine out of 10 parents report symptomatic traumatic behaviour among at least one of their children oViolence at the hands of more than one perpetrator, more than one place oIncreasing anger and aggression and among adults feeding into VAC resulting into violent behavior of children Intervention: Safe areas for children oLocal partnerships oParticipatory needs assessments and workshop involving children oSafe Play Areas
  • 12. 20 child-soldiers in ARMM get education benefits for ‘giving up arms’ (Inquirer Mindanao, 19 Nov 2011)
  • 13. Factors Contributing to Violence Societal Factors Urbanisation Poverty, inequality and social inclusion
  • 14. Cyber-Space and Cyber- Threats Access to information is a child’s right; also allows exposure to violent, abusive and pornographic material Threats of ICT Cyber-bullying Sexual exploitation Intervention needed: focus on prevention Campaigns for adults and parents Greater attention to strong international and national standards, and greater cross-border cooperation in the implementation of these standards
  • 15. Cyber-bullying in Filipino Children Eight out of 10 Filipino children (82 percent) access the Internet weekly while more than a third (37 percent) are daily Internet users. Seventy-three percent of Filipino teens have online social profiles as of 2010. Gabrielle Molina
  • 16. Responses to VAC in the Community Individual and Family Level family-oriented interventions to change parenting styles (increase predictability, parental monitoring, and decrease negative parenting methods) and improve relationships within the family (closeness, positive statements, emotional cohesion and communication clarity) show strong and consistent evidence for reducing the risk of children going on to engage in serious antisocial behaviour and violence
  • 17. Responses to VAC in the Community Community Level Community-level support for education and socialisation Reducing truancy and returning dropouts to school Non-formal learning opportunities Community-level situation prevention Services for victims of violence
  • 18. The anti-child abuse poster [by Anar Foundation] that can only be seen by children
  • 19. Responses to VAC in the Community Societal Level Economic opportunity and equality Reducing access to alcohol and illegal drugs Reducing access to and demand for weapons Reducing exposure to violence in the media Children’s Participation at all levels Data collection and research
  • 20. Recommendations (16) Prioritize Prevention High-risk individuals and families Immediate and environment risk factors in the community Victim services Societal level Build information systems
  • 21. -END OF SLIDES- Class discussion led by Eden T. Gallardo