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As world leaders come together in New York to discuss the next set of global development priorities, new research released today finds that physical, psychological and sexual violence perpetrated against children represents a massive economic burden – costing governments globally up to $7 trillion per annum.

September 25, 2014

Inaction on violence against children costs the world up to US$7 trillion

The ChildFund Alliance/ODI report will be launched today at a #UNGA69 side event on violence against children in New York

Sydney, Australia, 25 September 2014: As world leaders come together in New York to discuss the next set of global development priorities, new research released today finds that physical, psychological and sexual violence perpetrated against children represents a massive economic burden – costing governments globally up to $7 trillion per annum.

The study, commissioned by ChildFund Alliance and conducted by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), reveals that the total costs of physical, psychological and sexual violence against children are up to 8 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is more than the GDPs of Australia, Canada, India, and Mexico combined.

This global estimate is based on previous research on the costs of violence against children in high- and middle-income countries. Researchers used these estimates to obtain a global cost in terms of productivity loss for the total number of victims in a given year.

The study also estimates that the global costs of children forced to work in hazardous conditions, which deprives them of their childhood, amount to more than US$97 billion every year; and that the annual costs of children being recruited by armed forces and groups are US$144 million.

This research is adding to the weight of evidence that Governments need to ensure that violence against children is addressed in their new global agenda.

“This research clearly demonstrates that the cost of not acting on violence against children is far more expensive than preventing it – prevention pays,” said Andrew Johnson, acting Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance. “It is vital that the post-2015 agenda addresses violence against children. Children themselves are calling for Governments to finish the job they started 15 years ago with the MDGs and for the prevention of violence to be included in the new agenda.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • The ChildFund Alliance/ODI report ‘The costs and economic impact of violence against children’ can be downloaded here.
  • ChildFund Alliance is a worldwide alliance of 12 children’s development organisations, including ChildFund Australia, working in 58 countries to improve the lives of vulnerable and excluded children, helping them overcome poverty and achieve their rights.
  • ChildFund Alliance’s global campaign Free From Violence (www.freefromviolence.org) has been set up to advocate to Governments for the inclusion of the prevention of violence and exploitation of children as one of the development priorities in the post-2015 agenda and to raise awareness at all levels of these issues.