Child abuse and neglect

Child abuse and neglect - A global scenario

All persons under the age of 18 have the right to physical and psychological integrity, and to protection from all forms of violence. Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) –adopted by the United Nations in 1989– exhorts States parties to take “all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child".

Nonetheless, for various social and cultural reasons, children suffer violence in the home, at school, in legal and child protection systems, at work and in the community. Children are abused precisely in those places that should offer them protection, affection, developmental stimulation, shelter and promotion for their rights.

Globally, there are estimates that every year 275 million children around the world are the victims of violence in their households, and some 40 million persons under 15 suffer violence, abuse and neglect. These incidents are repeatedly taking place in different contexts: in families, in schools, in the community, on the street and in work situations (UNICEF, 2007a).

Child abuse is defined as “acts or omissions carried out with intent to cause immediate harm to the victim. The abuser perceives the harm caused as the ultimate goal of their actions.(World health organization, 2005)

Although prevention of child abuse and neglect requires a continuum of strategies at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels, one such approach is the enhancement of capacities of communities and professionals working for children to effectively address Child maltreatment. ( UNICEF)

Therefore supporting this statement of UNCIEF, we at Asian online Resource Centre realize that one of the best approach to prevent child maltreatment is to help communities and professionals to develop their skills and knowledge so that any professional working for prevention of child abuse can not only understand children’s emotional, physical, and developmental needs, but also will have the capacity to deal effectively to work towards prevention and responsd to child maltreatment.

Violence against children in Asia.

The 2006 UN Study on Violence against Children estimated that in South Asia every year between 41 and 88 million children witness violence at home – the highest regional total in the world.

Evidence also indicates that half of the world’s child brides live in South Asia, where 46 per cent of women aged 20-24 are first married or in union before they reach the age of 18 and that around 44 million children are engaged in child labour across the region. Sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as child trafficking and corporal punishment raise additional concerns in the region. Children in South Asia experience violence in a range of settings including at home and in the family, in schools and educational settings, in care and justice systems, in workplaces and in the communities. (UNICEF)

The impact of these experiences on children are immediate, long lasting, and often devastating. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF’s) ground-breaking research in 2012 outlined the serious impact of Child Maltreatment and its prevalence and Incidence in the East Asia and Pacific Region.

The report presented the findings of an innovative systematic review of 364 studies published between 2000-2010 on the prevalence, incidence of child physical, sexual and emotional abuse and consequences of child maltreatment in the region. Looking at impact of child maltreatment, the study found that children who experienced sexual abuse and exploitation tend to have poor mental and physical health outcomes. Forced unsafe sexual practices, greater likelihood of physical injury due to engaging in sexual relations at too young an age, and lack of access to medical treatment all affect the long-term health and development of these children. Studies also revealed numerous mental health problems, such as high rates of depression, shame and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Furthermore, it was also evident from many research studies that any form of abusive behaviour may result in the physical or mental impairment of the child or even death. Small children are especially vulnerable to physical injury such as whiplash or shaken infant syndrome resulting from battering. Abused children, quite often are more likely to experience mental health issues such as generalized anxiety, depression, truancy, shame and guilt, or suicidal and homicidal thoughts or even to engage in criminal activity, promiscuity, and substance abuse.

The respective governments from countries of Asia, south Asia, south East Asia, pacific region are consistently involved in enhancing the capacities of social welfare and various other sector professionals who address child maltreatment. Furthermore, UNICEF supports the government in capacity building of professionals of various discipline who work for prevention of child maltreatment. The organization coordinates with government and strives to build capacityof stakeholders so that they can not only understand children’s needs and issues but also have the capacity to work effectively towards prevention of child abuse and neglect employing evidence based or scientific approaches.

Similarly, We at ISPCAN Asian online Resource Centre are committed towards building capacities of stakeholders working towards prevention of child maltreatment through online support services so that child abuse can be better combated and managed.

Enhancement of capacities could play a vital role in understanding risks of children and to adopt a scientific, evidence based approach for preventing, or managing child abuse.

If you are looking for a source to build your skills and knowledge in the field of child protection, we believe you have come to right place.

The Resource Centre will provide all materials and links on issues concerning child protection. The ISPCAN Asian online Resource Centre can provide abundant online information to a range of professionals working in the field of child maltreatment particularly those that are applicable to entire Asia.