Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence Against Children
. 5 - 7 July 2005 Ljubljana, Slovenia  
Europe and Central Asia






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Communication kit

A Communication kit has been designed by UNICEF and the Council of Europe for the Regional Consultation on Violence Against Children in Europe and Central Asia, 5-7 July, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Communication kit: PDF

Violence in Residential Facilities
Violence in the Community
Violence in Schools
Violence in the Home and Family

Who we are
Changing attitudes
About the UN Study
What you can do

Child's drawing, UNICEF Moldova
Ion Sestacovschi, 9 years old


Over the next twelve months, around 3,500 children under the age of 15 will die as a result of physical assault and neglect in the world’s richest nations. In Germany and the United Kingdom, two children die every week – three in France. More than 1 million children are trafficked across international borders every year. Over 300 million children in the world work – some of them in hazardous conditions, some of them forced. Street children fight for survival daily on the streets of Europe and Central Asia, exploited by criminals, dodging the police. One out of every ten schoolchildren faces violence at school – some of it so traumatic that suicide seems the only way out.

These figures from UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization and the United Nations show that the children of our region are as vulnerable to violence as any in the world. We can’t assume that we are more developed or more civilized – the figures show we are not. Behind every case that hits the headlines and shocks people’s hearts there are thousands of children who simply become statistics. Violence against children is hidden and corrosive. It destroys lives and potential and breeds societies that accept the unacceptable – that children can be punched, kicked, beaten, starved, taunted and tortured.

Violence has so many different faces, and can take place anywhere children spend their time – in the family, in the street, in schools, in State care and custody. Anyone who comes into direct contact with children is a potential perpetrator – parent, caregiver, relative, community member, an other child, school teacher, police officer. But no matter what the abuse and where it takes place, the root causes are often the same. The causes of violence include:

Discrimination – Whether it is for reasons of gender, ethnic origin, religion, disability, disease or sexual orientation, discrimination legitimizes violent behaviour. Discrimination in social, education or health services can result in ethnic groups, such as Roma, being socially excluded, increasing the vulnerability of children to violence.

Social acceptance – Countries across Europe and Central Asia have different thresholds of acceptance to violence. For instance, almost all countries accept corporal punishment as a means of disciplining children. These attitudes reflect the way that people react, both in their own behaviour and in the low incidence of reports of violence.

Poverty and social stress – Studies on child maltreatment deaths within the family in rich nations have found that poverty and stress, along with drug and alcohol abuse seem to be closely linked with child abuse and neglect.* At its worst, poverty has proved an underlying factor in various world conflicts that have set communities against each other.

Yet the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees the physical integrity, safety and dignity of children, and countries have laws to stop violence…. don’t they?

Somewhere between theory and practice something is missing. And it’s time to find out and to act.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has launched a project to put an end to the violence. The first step is to get a picture of exactly what is happening, and he has appointed Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro to head a global study on violence against children. The study will map out what is happening today in four different settings – the school, the home, institutions and the community. Information on each of these appears in this pack – showing what data we now have, what steps have been taken to tackle the problems, and what needs to be done in the future. Some of the issues – such as bullying and abuse – are already on the agenda of many governments; others, such as harmful traditional practices and violence in institutions and youth training, are newer. But one thing is common to all topics, the lack of sound data. Facts and figures on violence are hard to come by, but without them, it is hard to find the appropriate solutions to ensure that our actions are really effective.

Nine regional consultations will feed the Study, including the Europe and Central Asia Consultation in Ljubljana, Slovenia (5-7 July 2005). This Consultation will bring together experts, academics, practitioners and children to look at what’s going wrong and to find a way to begin to put it right. Their work is a call to action – to break the silence, mobilize, motivate and put in place the political agenda which will change the world for children today and tomorrow – creating a world where violence against children is no longer tolerated.

* Innocenti Report Card No. 5, A league table of child maltreatment deaths in rich nations, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, September 2003.

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