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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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The COVID-19 consequences on child labour in agrifood systems

This paper provides insights and evidence on how the COVID-19 pandemic and related policy responses to curb its spread influence the risk of child labour in agriculture through different pathways.It draws on case studies from seven countries covering different production systems: Côte d’Ivoire (cocoa), Ethiopia (cattle keeping and farming), (Lebanon (horticulture and greenhouse farms), the Philippines (municipal fisheries), and Viet Nam (crop farming, livestock, and citrus fruit chains). Based on these evidence, the document provides concluding reflections and recommendations on priority areas regarding knowledge generation and data collection, policy responses (social protection, education), and household- and community-level responses.

Adolescent girls’ and boys’ experiences of violence: evidence from gender and adolescence: global evidence

AUTHOR(S)
Elizabeth Presler-Marshall; Erin Oakley; Shoroq Abu Hamad (et al.)

Institution: Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence
Published: October 2022

Age- and gender-based violence during adolescence is widespread, and the risks permeate all spheres of adolescents’ lives – family and marriage, schools, peer networks and communities. Yet this violence affects girls and boys very differently within and across low- and middle-income country (LMIC) contexts. Midway through the Sustainable Development Agenda, data from the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) research programme reinforces the urgency of investing in a tailored, adequately resourced package of interventions, coordinated across sectors and development actors. This would allow the global community to make meaningful progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 and 16 to eliminate all forms of violence affecting young people. This brief draws on data collected in three of GAGE’s core countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Jordan using mixed-methods research. GAGE findings highlight that adolescent girls – and boys – regularly face myriad forms of age- and gender-based violence. Risks are context-dependent, which in some cases means adolescent girls and boys do not perceive what they are experiencing as violence, and in other cases leads them to embrace such behaviour because it demonstrates to their peers and communities that they are conforming to social norms. Critical to tackling this violence is a recognition that age-based violence is often deeply gendered; that gender norms leave girls and boys at heightened risk of different types of violence; and that sometimes the best way to support girls to lead lives free of violence is to ensure that the boys in their environments are also free of violence.

Real choices real lives: Latin America
Institution: Plan International
Published: October 2022

This report, focusing on evidence from Brazil, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, forms part of Plan International’s ongoing research, Real Choices, Real Lives – a qualitative, longitudinal study following the lives of girls living in nine countries* around the world from their birth (in 2006), until they turn 18 (in 2024). Through annual data collection, Real Choices, Real Lives captures unique insights into what it means to grow up as a girl across different contexts, including how families and communities shape expectations of what girls can do, and be, right from the moment they are born.

Fighting for a future: girls' opportunities
Institution: World Vision
Published: October 2022

What kind of opportunities can a child expect in life? Every child deserves to be loved, cared for, free from the threat of violence, and have the ability to fulfil their potential through exercising their agency, pursuing their education, and making choices in how to earn and spend money. However, due to entrenched gender norms and societal practices, girls are particularly at risk of living in an environment where many of their God-given rights are taken away from them. Child marriage is perhaps the most blatant sign of this. Every year, approximately 12 million girls are married before they reach the age of 18, robbing them of the opportunity to reach their full potential. Child marriage can result in early pregnancy (with associated serious health risks) and social isolation, interrupt schooling, limit opportunities for career and vocational advancement, and place girls at increased risk of domestic violence.

A global review of COVID-19 policy and programmatic responses to child labour in agrifood systems

This review aims to look into the consequences of (1) the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the pandemic and (2) the policies and programmatic responses to mitigate socio-economic consequences of the pandemic and how they have potentially interacted with child labour drivers, especially in agrifood systems. Thus, this review aims to document and spell out how policy and programmatic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular social protection measures, have the potential to prevent or contain an increase of child labour in agriculture at large.

Parental intimate partner violence and abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic: learning from remote and hybrid working to influence future support

AUTHOR(S)
Hayley Alderson; Simon Barrett; Michelle Addison (et al.)

Published: October 2022   Journal: Women's Health
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated intimate partner violence and abuse. Incidents of intimate partner violence and abuse have increased as a result of household tensions due to enforced coexistence (multiple national lockdowns and working from home practices), economic stress related to loss of income, the disruption of social and protective networks and the decreased access to support services. This study aimed to understand how female survivors of parental intimate partner violence and abuse have experienced the adapted multi-agency response to intimate partner violence and abuse during the pandemic and consider learning from remote and hybrid working to influence future support. This study adopted a qualitative research design, utilizing semi-structured interviews and a focus group. Data collection took place between March and September 2021. In total, 17 female survivors of intimate partner violence and abuse took part in the project; we conducted the semi-structured interviews via telephone (n = 9) and conducted an online focus group (n = 8).
Secrets from the children's room: new understandings of inappropriate and abusive sexual behavior among siblings after the COVID-19 crisis in Israel

AUTHOR(S)
Limor Golan

Published: September 2022   Journal: Trauma, Violence, & Abuse
This article discusses the COVID-19 crisis’s impact on inappropriate and abusive sexual behavior among siblings (IASBAS) and how perceptions of this phenomenon affect construction of the post-crisis reality in Israel. Sibling sexual abuse, the most frequent type of sexual assault against children, does not occur in a vacuum; it is affected by the environment in which children live and develop. The pandemic created situational risk factors and a “germination substrate” for risk of abuse in “normative” families and escalation in families in which it had previously occurred. The first part of the article, based on research data and reports, reviews the objective reality that emerged in Israel and worldwide due to the pandemic. Part two describes situational risk factors converging to a new dangerous situation for children’s abuse and victimization that resulted from this crisis: domestic violence (direct, indirect, and sexual), at-risk children returning and staying at home, increased exposure to online sexual content, parental dysfunction, and lack of formal and informal support sources.
Child protection and welfare during the COVID 19 pandemic: revisiting the value of resilience-building, systems theory, adverse childhood experiences and trauma-informed approaches

AUTHOR(S)
Susan Flynn

Published: September 2022   Journal: Child Care in Practice
The purpose of this paper is to present a reading of child protection and welfare practice in the recent covid 19 pandemic, with reference to several popular concepts in social work. The focus is on the relevance of these concepts to the contemporary circumstances in which child protection and welfare social workers often now find themselves. The specific intention is to extract learning from four traditionally popular approaches in social work, namely, resilience-building, systems theory, ACES and trauma-informed approaches. This will be achieved by first introducing, and then explaining key ideas and conventions of each approach. Here, relevant and established literature will be referenced to inform explanations. As the utility of the systemic perspective for child protection work is already well established, the paper considers how this perspective can be extended to assist in work with children and young people in the pandemic who have Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). In this paper, exploration of the detail of that extension lies in resilience building and trauma-informed practice. Whilst concepts of trauma-sensitivity and resilience are variously embedded in ACEs literature, their mutual treatment tends to be deficient in one regard. Specifically, these concepts are often not thought about in a systemic manner, necessitating the inclusion of a systemic lens.
US shelter in place policies and child abuse Google search volume during the COVID-19 pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Corinne A. Riddell; Kriszta Farkas; Krista Neumann (et al.)

Published: September 2022   Journal: Preventive Medicine

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unemployment, school closures, movement restrictions, and social isolation, all of which are child abuse risk factors. This study aimed to estimate the effect of COVID-19 shelter in place (SIP) policies on child abuse as captured by Google searches. It applied a differences-in-differences design to estimate the effect of SIP on child abuse search volume. It linked state-level SIP policies to outcome data from the Google Health Trends Application Programming Interface.


Afghanistan: a children's crisis
Institution: World Vision
Published: August 2022

Afghanistan is a country defined by the resilience and tenacity of its citizens – of its communities, its families, its children. Despite years of conflict, political changes, economic instability, and natural disasters, hard won development gains were realised, beginning to open doors for new opportunities and brighter futures for Afghanistan’s girls and boys. Today, those gains are at risk and the situation for children is more precarious than ever, in the face of what some class as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Political change, and the impact of this on the policies, decisions, and investments of the international aid community, coupled with the compounded effects of displacement, climate shocks, and lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, are pushing food insecurity to levels not seen before. This is challenging the ability of families to survive daily life, contributing to the rapid deterioration of the public health system, and ultimately, placing the rights and protection of Afghanistan’s children at risk. This report highlights how children and their families have been impacted by recent changes to the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. It provides an analysis of new primary research from four provinces, secondary data, and the testimonies of children and their families, who describe, in their own words, how the worsening situation in Afghanistan is impacting them.

Children's "best Interest" locked up: on the situation of children's rights during the COVID-19 responses

AUTHOR(S)
Michael Spieker

Published: August 2022   Journal: Jahr : European Journal of Bioethics
The constitution of the WHO as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child both emphasise the unique position of children, the significance of healthy development and the obligation of public and private actors to always consider the best interest of the child. There is – at least in the case of Germany – no evidence that this obligation has been fulfilled in due manner during the COVID-19 reactions. On the other hand, there is clear evidence from different parts of the world that the closure of schools and all places of social encounter has deeply harmed the social, emotional and even intellectual development of many children. The children’s rights therefore have not been safeguarded during the corona-reaction-crisis. The article argues that this disregard of the position of children has its roots in public health’s utilitarian perspective on the health of peoples instead of individuals. In order to safeguard the rights of children in public health operations, the procedures already foreseen by the UN Convention and its implementing regulations to take into account the best interest of the child must be truly implemented in the future.
Relationship among child maltreatment, parental conflict, and mental health of children during the COVID-19 lockdown in China

AUTHOR(S)
Yashuang Bai; Mingqi Fu; Xiaohua Wang (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma
Children are more likely to experience maltreatment and parental conflict in a pandemic context, which can exacerbate their vulnerability to psychological disorders. The purpose of the present study was to examine mental health symptoms in children aged 0 to 10 years and consider related factors from the perspectives of maltreatment and parental conflict during the COVID-19 lockdown. Participants were 1286 parents aged 18 years and over with children aged 0 to 10 years were included. Several multivariable linear regressions were used to analyze the data.
Ending violence against children during Covid-19 and beyond: second regional conference to strengthen implementation of the INSPIRE strategies
Institution: World Health Organisation, *UNICEF
Published: August 2022

UNICEF and WHO jointly organized Ending Violence Against Children During COVID-19 and Beyond: Second Regional Conference to Strengthen Implementation of the INSPIRE Strategies, held virtually on 1–5 November 2021. The Conference comes under the umbrella of the 2021 Solutions Summit series of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GPEVAC).  Over 1700 delegates gathered for the Conference virtually, representing governments (including from the health, social welfare, education and justice sectors), youth groups, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international NGOs, faith-based organizations and religious leaders, academic institutions, private sector and development partners, as well as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children. The purpose of the Conference was to identify actions needed to ensure effective prevention and response to VAC during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, utilizing the strategies outlined in INSPIRE: Seven strategies for ending violence against children.

Injuries and child abuse increase during the pandemic over 12942 emergency admissions

AUTHOR(S)
Quentin Hennocq; Célia Adjed; Hélène Chappuy (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Injury
A strict lockdown was decided from 17/03/2020 to 11/05/2020 in France in order to tackle the first wave of the COVID19 pandemic. In the Great Paris region, several areas are severely affected by overcrowding, creating difficult conditions for children and their families during a period of nearly two months. The objective was to assess the effects of the 2020 spring lockdown on injuries, child abuse and neglect. The central medical data warehouse was screened for all pediatric admissions at emergency and critical care departments of 20 hospitals, in a cohort of 12942 children. Specific keywords were used to screen for both injuries and child abuse and neglect.
Prevalence, increase and predictors of family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, using modern machine learning approaches

AUTHOR(S)
Kristina Todorovic; Erin O’Leary; Kaitlin P. Ward (et al.)

Published: August 2022   Journal: Frontiers in Psychiatry

We are facing an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is causing detrimental effects on mental health, including disturbing consequences on child maltreatment and intimate partner violence. This study sought to identify predictors of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence from 380 participants (mean age 36.67 ± 10.61, 63.2% male; Time 3: June 2020) using modern machine learning analysis (random forest and SHAP values). It predicted that COVID-related factors (such as days in lockdown), parents’ psychological distress during the pandemic (anxiety, depression), their personality traits, and their intimate partner relationship will be key contributors to child maltreatment. It also examined if there is an increase in family violence during the pandemic by using an additional cohort at two time points (Time 1: March 2020, N = 434; mean age 35.67 ± 9.85, 41.69% male; and Time 2: April 2020, N = 515; mean age 35.3 ± 9.5, 34.33%).

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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.

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Each quarterly thematic digest features the latest evidence drawn from the Children and COVID-19 Research Library on a particular topic of interest.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.