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).