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Columbia University

INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children

Columbia University via edX


An analysis of nationally representative survey data on the prevalence of violence against children in 96 countries estimates that 1 billion children globally – over half of all children aged 2–17 years – have experienced emotional, physical or sexual violence in the past year. Despite its high prevalence, violence against children is often hidden, unseen or under-reported. Its hidden nature is well documented – for example, a meta-analysis of global data finds self-reported child sexual abuse 30 times higher and physical abuse 75 times higher than official reports would suggest.

The immediate and long-term public health consequences and economic costs of violence against children undermine investments in education, health, and child well-being, and erode the productive capacity of future generations. Exposure to violence at an early age can impair brain development and damage other parts of the nervous system, as well as the endocrine, circulatory, musculoskeletal, reproductive, respiratory and immune systems, with lifelong consequences. Strong evidence shows that violence in childhood increases the risks of injury; HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; mental health problems; delayed cognitive development; poor school performance and dropout; early pregnancy; reproductive health problems; and communicable and noncommunicable disease.

INSPIRE is an evidence-based resource for everyone committed to preventing and responding to violence against children and adolescents – from government to grassroots, and from civil society to the private sector. This MOOC represents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help countries and communities intensify their focus on the prevention programmes and services with the greatest potential to reduce violence against children.

The seven strategies are:

  • I mplementation and enforcement of laws
  • N orms and values
  • S afe environments
  • P arent and caregiver support
  • I ncome and economic strengthening
  • R esponse and support services
  • E ducation and life skills

This MOOC was developed by the Care and Protection of Children (CPC) Learning Network at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), End Violence Against Children: The Global Partnership; Together for Girls, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank, and multiple national and international civil society organizations (agencies with a long history of galvanizing a consistent, evidence-based approach to preventing violence against children). Additional contributions were provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).


1) Introduction to INSPIRE; 7 Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children
How the INSPIRE Technical Package Can Help
Magnitude of Violence Against Children
Defining Violence Against Children
Consequences and Costs of Violence Against Children
Root Causes of Violence Against Children
Understanding the Evidence in INSPIRE
How to Implement INSPIRE Strategies

2) Implementation and Enforcement of Laws
How Do Laws Serve a Child’s Right to be Protected From Violence?
Laws Banning Violent Punishment of Children
Laws Criminalizing Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children
Laws That Prevent Alcohol Misuse
Laws Limiting Youth Access to Firearms and Other Weapons

3) Norms and Values
What Are Norms, Values, Gender Norms, and How Do They Influence Violence?
Small Group Programmes
Community Mobilization Programmes
Bystander Interventions

4) Safe Environments
What is the Role of Safe Public Spaces in Promoting Children’s Well-being?
Protecting Children in Online Environments
Reducing Violence by Addressing “Hot Spots”
Interrupting the Spread of Violence
Improving the Built Environment

5) Parent and Caregiver Support
Importance of Positive and Nurturing Families in Preventing Violence Against Children
Parenting Groups in Community Settings
Home Visiting Programmes
Comprehensive Programmes

6) Income and Economic Strengthening
How Does Family Economic Stability and Empowerment Reduce the Risk Factors for Violence Against Children?
Cash Transfers
Group Savings and Loans Associations Combined with Gender-norms/Equity training
Microfinance combined with gender-norms/equity training

7) Response and Support Services
What Are “Child Friendly” and “Gender Sensitive” Services?
Goal 1: Have a System for Helping Children
Goal 2: Find Out Who Needs Help
Goal 3: Help Children, Immediately and in the Longer Term
Goal 4: Protect Children in Conflict with the Law

8) Education and Life Skills
What is the Role of School Enrollment and School-Based Programs in Preventing Violence Against Children?
Increase Participation in School
Safe and Enabling School Environments
Life and Social Skills Training

End and Additional Resources on the Adaptation and Scale-up of INSPIRE Strategies

Taught by

Nicolas Makharashvili, Cassie Landers, Mark Canavera and Gunnar Colleen


4.3 rating at edX based on 5 ratings

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