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COVID-19 pandemic requires increased global commitment to ending violence against children

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New research commissioned by child-focused development agencies ChildFund, Plan International, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision finds that ending violence against children remains alarmingly underfunded.

This is despite the fact that approximately one billion children experience violence each year, costing world economies up to USD$7 trillion annually.

The research report, Counting Pennies 2, reveals that less than USD$2 billion in total was invested in causes relating to ending violence against children in 2018, with only USD$511 million (less than USD$1 per child) towards specific projects to tackle violence against children.

The agencies warn that COVID-19 is exacerbating protection risks for children, with the report estimating that 80% of services to address violence against children have been disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Margaret Sheehan, CEO of ChildFund Australia, said: “Measures to contain the virus have resulted in high levels of unemployment and reduced household incomes. In countries where there are no social security nets, this is resulting in high-stress home environments, which increase the likelihood of domestic violence and abuse that children either experience or observe.

“Economic vulnerability could also lead to increases in child labour, child marriage and many other child protection issues. It is vital that world leaders take steps to prevent and respond to increased instances of child violence and exploitation as part of their COVID-19 recovery efforts.”

More positively, the report finds that since its initial research in 2017, investment into ending violence against children has increased by 67%. While this increase in funding has been welcomed by the development agencies, there is significant concern that less than 1% overseas aid funding globally is directed towards ending violence against children.

Ms Sheehan adds: “The results paint a mixed picture. While global funding has increased, we still have a significant way to go if we are to meet our commitment under Sustainable Development Goal 16.2: to end the abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children.

“There is an urgent need for initiatives which protect girls and boys. Ending violence against children is achievable and fundamental to breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty.”

Counting Pennies 2 calls on donors to increase funding to end violence against children in humanitarian and non-humanitarian settings. The report also recommends that the global community should collaborate to produce a defined method for tracking investments into ending violence against children to increase clarity and transparency for all.

Download the Counting Pennies 2 report.

 

24 November 2020: 2020 has been a year to forget, but ChildFund Australia is giving everyone a chance to make it one to remember for children in our neighbouring countries by giving a Gift for Good this festive season.

The 2020 Gifts for Good catalogue, which is out now, is the opportunity to make a present of everything from handwashing stations to school supplies to children and communities in countries such as Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.

ChildFund Australia CEO Margaret Sheehan said Australians were some of the most generous people in the world, particularly at Christmas.

Last year’s ChildFund Christmas survey found that 2 in every 5 Australians plan to give a donation as a gift to family, friends or colleagues during the festive season. This finding is supported by the World Giving Index, produced annually by the Charities Aid Foundation that, in 2018, ranked Australia 4th out of 146 countries in terms of its generosity.

“Our Gifts for Good Christmas Catalogue allows everyday Australians to buy scholarships, chicken farms, first aid kits, water filters, farm animals and warm jackets for vulnerable children and families in developing communities,” Ms Sheehan said.

“There is a huge range to choose from, and it can all be ordered online. Each gift comes with a card which can be given to your loved ones.

“2020 has bought such disruption and uncertainty for so many people around the world. We’d love Australians to help us ring in 2021 by giving a gift of joy that lasts forever.”

People can give a gift through ChildFund’s Gifts for Good catalogue at www.childfund.org.au/gifts-for-good. There is a huge range of gifts to choose from, and they can all be ordered online right up until Christmas Eve. Each gift comes with a card which can be given to your friends and family.

Great ethical gift ideas 

One mosquito net: $10

Every two minutes somewhere in the world, a child dies from malaria. Countless more suffer needlessly from this devastating — and preventable — disease. A simple mozzie net could save lives and is truly a gift that will keep on giving!

One school supplies set: $76

Help make 2021 a better one! Many children in South East Asia and the Pacific have not been back to school since learning was interrupted by COVID-19. Others just can’t afford basic school supplies like pens, pencils and notebooks. You can give one student the essential items they need for a successful year of learning, as well as a backpack to carry them in.

One handwashing station: $149

We know that this Christmas 40 per cent of the world’s population do not have access to soap and water at home. You can give the gift that will protect them from infectious diseases such as including cholera, hepatitis, diarrheal infections and COVID-19. You gift of a handwashing station could help keep children safe and encourage life-saving habits over a lifetime.

COVID-19 protection for 10 families: $800

At your (COVID safe) Christmas street party, or end-of-year work event, get together with friends and families in your street to provide COVID-19 protection kits for 10 families in our region. Your gift will help restock a health station with desperately needed medicines, medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessities to ensure that children and families have ready access to the care and resources they need to stay healthy.