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Mapping what we know about ending violence against children

New evidence synthesis reveals more needs to be done to close the gaps in our knowledge on effective strategies
14 Oct 2020
Jessica Marques, 20, was the victim of cyberbullying, social isolation and embarrassment during high school at age 17.


(21 October 2020) While evidence on interventions to reduce violence against children (VAC) has increased in recent years, striking gaps remain that need to be addressed, according to a new report published today by UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti and the Campbell Collaboration. The report is based on an ‘Evidence & Gap Map’ (EGM) which graphically represents what we know, and what we don’t know, about VAC via a matrix of strong, weak, or no evidence.

More than one billion children—that’s over half the children in the world—report having experienced some form of violence. Combined with what we know about the negative consequences of violence on children’s health and wellbeing, it’s impacts on education and the economy, and it’s long lasting effects well into adulthood, it is crucial that actions are taken at all levels to end VAC.

The latest VAC evidence gap map, now detailed in a report and summarised in a brief, confirms that the evidence on prevention of violence, though growing, is as yet limited in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and poorly distributed across countries and regions. The EGM maps 152 impact evaluations and systematic reviews according to seven globally recognised INSPIRE strategies to end VAC. It quickly shows that the evidence is not equally concentrated across and within these strategies. More studies are needed to assess the effectiveness of strategies across the INSPIRE themes, with a sharper focus on specific forms of vulnerability, such as children with disabilities and children from minority groups.

“Sharing and discussing these findings with policy makers and other key actors is necessary for a coordinated approach to filling knowledge gaps and ensuring research has a real impact”, explains Innocenti’s Chief of Child Protection, Ramya Subrahmanian. “Regular updating of such maps will help to maintain a global overview of gaps and tell us how well the violence prevention field is doing to strengthen evidence-informed strategies.” In recognition of this need, the map will soon be updated to include studies in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, for a more comprehensive representation of the evidence available.

The roots of violence are complex, the global scale is significant, and the consequences are enduring for children, families, communities, and societies. Strengthening our understanding of effective interventions to reduce violence are essential for the development of evidence-informed policies and programmes. This EGM is a first step towards developing an evidence architecture to inform policy, programme, and investment strategies to prevent VAC. 



Explore the Evidence Gap Map, read the full report, and find a summary of our findings in our Research Brief. Discover all our work on violence against children. Keep an eye out for our series of briefs which summarises the findings of the study under each of the seven INSPIRE pillars.