ChildFund Alliance has today released the global results of the sixth annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey. This year, almost 6,000 children aged 10-12 from 44 countries have shared their views on safety and protection, including where children are at risk and what adults can do to keep children safe.
The results underline the critical need to make child protection a global priority, with 42 per cent of children globally naming home and school as places where children are at risk.
Children in developing countries were more likely to identify the home as a place of risk (46%), compared to 28 per cent of children in developed countries. More than half of the Australian children surveyed (55%) were particularly concerned about the risks of abuse children face at school.
“It is alarming that almost half of children globally named home and school as places where children are most at risk,” said ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence. “The findings demonstrate that child violence and exploitation is pervasive, and affects children regardless of their nationality, culture, religion or socio-economic status. While children living in poverty are often at greater risk, no child is immune to the risks of abuse.”
This year’s survey also found that 70 per cent of Australian children blamed drugs or alcohol as a cause of adult mistreatment of children, in contrast to just 4 per cent of children globally.
In comparison, almost half of children (47%) from countries in Asia say that adults mistreat children because it is “the child’s fault”, while in Africa almost one in four (23%) children say adults mistreat children because “the family needs the money children can earn”.
Almost half of children in Australia (45%), and in all the developed countries surveyed (43%), also said that adults mistreat children because they were victims of abuse themselves. This compares with only one in four children in developing countries (26%).
Further, the survey found an overwhelming majority (85%) of Australian children said children are at risk of mistreatment and abuse online; three times higher than the global response of 28 per cent.
If given the chance to be leader of their country, children globally (42%) are united in their desire to create more rules and laws to protect children, and to punish those who abuse them. When asked about the most important thing adults can do to keep children safer from mistreatment, almost one in three Australian respondents (31%) said adults should “listen to what children have to say”, while 1 in 4 children globally said “love children more”.
Mr Spence said: “The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey findings come just months after the United Nations formally launched the Sustainable Development Goals, which commit world leaders to achieving child protection targets for the first time. We must listen and respond to childrenÛªs concerns in order to provide the most effective response.
“Our survey shows there’s much to be done to ensure every child in Australia and around the world feels safe, and has the best chance of a childhood free from violence and exploitation.”