CONNECT
search advanced search
UNICEF Innocenti
Office of Research-Innocenti
search menu

Violence affecting children

Violence affecting children

Violence affecting children manifests differently in every society. The most effective interventions address both the immediate needs of children and the broader social causes of violence. The Multi Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children, led by Innocenti and national partners in Peru, Zimbabwe, Viet Nam and Italy, builds national research capacity across the four countries. National reports and policy briefs synthesize findings to create a composite picture of violence. Field research tests if interventions to prevent violence are addressing the underlying drivers. An Advisory Board  provides advice and guidance for the Multi Country Study.  

Several countries neighboring the four main field sites have initiated the Research to Policy & Practice Process, called R3Ps.. These are scaled-down studies on the drivers of violence allowing UNICEF Country offices and partners to systematically review and prioritize best possible prevention and response interventions based on local evidence.

Young Lives is a longitudinal study following the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam over a 15 year period. The study measures the effect of violence on child outcomes at multiple points in time. Young Lives study data is powerful in suggesting when, where and how risk and protective factors manifest in children’s lives; this work complements the Multi Country Study findings and contributes to new understandings for violence prevention policy and programming.  

For a list of the studies, reports, videos, blogs and other related content produced by the Multi-country Study and its spin-off studies, see our list of outputs.

 

Publications

2018 Results Report
Publication Publication

2018 Results Report

In 2018, significant gains were made in generating evidence to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged children, build organizational capacity to conduct and use quality, ethical research on children, and set a foundation as an important convening centre for expert consultation on next-generation ideas on children. 2018 marks the first year the UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti is reporting on the progress of research under the new UNICEF Strategic Plan (2018-2021). This plan is the first to clearly delineate the role of research and evidence as one of the eight priority change strategies for children. This report therefore is an account of the first year of work to generate critical evidence to inform programmes, policies and advocacy for children and young people around the world
Research that Drives Change: Conceptualizing and Conducting Nationally Led Violence Prevention Research
Publication Publication

Research that Drives Change: Conceptualizing and Conducting Nationally Led Violence Prevention Research

Globally, studies have demonstrated that children in every society are affected by physical, sexual and emotional violence. The drive to both quantify and qualify violence through data and research has been powerful: discourse among policy makers is shifting from “this does not happen here” to “what is driving this?” and “how can we address it?” To help answer these questions, the Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children – conducted in Italy, Viet Nam, Peru and Zimbabwe – sought to disentangle the complex and often interrelated underlying causes of violence affecting children (VAC) in these four countries. Led by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti with its academic partner, the University of Edinburgh, the Study was conducted by national research teams comprised of government, practitioners and academic researchers in each of the four countries.
Innocenti Research Digest: Adolescence 5
Publication Publication

Innocenti Research Digest: Adolescence 5

This quarterly digest synthesizes the latest research findings in adolescent well-being over the previous three months. Key themes in this latest edition include: the new UN General Comment on the Rights of the Child during adolescence; the risks refugee and migrant children face on the central Mediterranean migration route; and the work of the Know Violence in Childhood: Global Learning Initiative, established as a collective response by individuals from multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations and funding agencies concerned about the global impact of violence in childhood and the need for investment in effective violence prevention strategies. The Digest offers News, Upcoming Events, Resources and Latest Research.

Journal Articles

Addressing violence against children online and offline
Journal Article Journal Article

Addressing violence against children online and offline

This paper calls for actors working to end violence against children to situate online violence within the broader violence against children agenda. This requires a common conceptual framework that addresses violence in all areas of children’s lives, improved data collection efforts and integrated implementation guidance for prevention.
Disclosure, reporting and help seeking among child survivors of violence: a cross-country analysis
Journal Article Journal Article

Disclosure, reporting and help seeking among child survivors of violence: a cross-country analysis

Violence against children is a pervasive public health issue, with limited data available across multiple contexts. This study explores the rarely studied prevalence and dynamics around disclosure, reporting and help-seeking behaviours of children who ever experienced physical and/or sexual violence.Using nationally-representative Violence Against Children Surveys in six countries: Cambodia, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania, we present descriptive statistics for prevalence of four outcomes among children aged 13–17 years: informal disclosure, knowledge of where to seek formal help, formal disclosure/help seeking and receipt of formal help. We ran country-specific multivariate logistic regressions predicting outcomes on factors at the individual, household and community levels.The prevalence of help-seeking behaviours ranged from 23 to 54% for informal disclosure, 16 to 28% for knowledge of where to seek formal help, under 1 to 25% for formal disclosure or help seeking, and 1 to 11% for receipt of formal help. Factors consistently correlated with promoting help-seeking behaviours included household number of adult females and absence of biological father, while those correlated with reduced help-seeking behaviours included being male and living in a female-headed household. Primary reasons for not seeking help varied by country, including self-blame, apathy and not needing or wanting services.Across countries examined, help-seeking and receipt of formal services is low for children experiencing physical and/or sexual violence, with few consistent factors identified which facilitated help-seeking. Further understanding of help seeking, alongside improved data quality and availability will aid prevention responses, including the ability to assist child survivors in a timely manner.
Violence against children in Latin America and the Caribbean: What do available data reveal about prevalence and perpetrators?
Journal Article Journal Article

Violence against children in Latin America and the Caribbean: What do available data reveal about prevalence and perpetrators?

Past-year physical and emotional violence by caregivers and students is widespread in LAC across all ages in childhood, as is IPV against girls aged 15 – 19 years. Data collection must be expanded in LAC to monitor progress towards the sustainable development goals, develop effective prevention and response strategies, and shed light on violence relating to organized crime/gangs.

News & Commentary

New Expert Report Uncovers the Massive Global Burden of Childhood Violence
Article Article

New Expert Report Uncovers the Massive Global Burden of Childhood Violence

(27 September 2017) Violence in childhood is a preventable but nearly universal phenomenon that affects 1.7 billion children, nearly 3 out of 4 worldwide, each year, with catastrophic but often hidden impacts on individuals, communities and societies.It affects children in every country, rich and poor, north and south.Ending violence in childhood and freeing children from fear is the world’s single largest investment opportunity to enhance children’s capabilities and build peaceful societies. The annual financial costs of physical, sexual and psychological violence against children are estimated to range between 2 and 5 percent of global GDP, or about US $7 trillion.Two siblings in their home in Omoa, Honduras. They have tried to flee intense gang related violence through migration numerous times.Violence in childhood is also inextricably linked with violence against women.Children who witness the abuse of their mothers are more likely to become victims or perpetrators of abuse when they grow up.These are among the key findings of the new Global Report 2017 Ending Violence in Childhood, issued today by the international learning collaborative Know Violence in Childhood: A Global Learning Initiative (or Know Violence). The report is one of the most comprehensive analyses of childhood violence ever undertaken, an almost three year long effort documenting the scale of violence experienced by millions of the world’s children. The new report highlights both the enormous scale of this global crisis, and the integrated prevention strategies that can end childhood violence, thereby unlocking opportunities for economic progress, enhanced human development, and expanded freedoms.“From severe physical punishment to sexual abuse to homicide, childhood violence damages individuals, families and communities in both rich countries and poor, with a cost in the trillions of dollars a year,” said Know Violence Global Co-Chair A.K. Shiva Kumar. “But violence in childhood is not inevitable. Political leaders must help us implement what we already know works and break the silence around this critical issue.”Childhood violence includes a broad range of experiences, from corporal punishment to physical, sexual and emotional abuse, to the effect of witnessing violence against others.Beyond the immediate physical damage it causes, exposure to violence can traumatize children, harm school performance, lead to depression and other illnesses, and increase the chances that young people will become the victims or perpetrators of violence in the future.“Growing up free from violence is a fundamental human right, and ensuring safe childhoods is a key component of sustainable human development,” said Baroness Vivien Stern, Know Violence Global Co-Chair. “The UN Sustainable Development Goals will require all governments to strengthen their data gathering systems on violence.Know Violence has synthesized the best evidence from thousands of sources worldwide on how to make these global goals a reality.”Over the course of Know Violence’s work, the research team uncovered significant gaps in the availably of nationally representative data on key indicators of violence against women and children.According to Know Violence Steering Group Chair and President of the China Medical Board Dr. Lincoln Chen, “The Know Violence Learning Initiative has made a significant contribution by compiling what we know, but also identifying what we do not know.”Dr. Chen continued, “This is particularly true with violence against boys, with data on physical violence only available for six countries, and sexual violence for only four countries. Surely we can find the will and resources to ensure that we understand the extent to which our children are impacted by violence and how to stop it.”In an effort to better track and compare available data, the Know Violence report also presents a unique new matrix, the global Violence in Childhood (VIC) Index. This new tool enables comparisons to be made between countries and regions of the world.The report is informed by input from 44 research papers exploring the causes and impact of, and responses to, childhood violence, that were commissioned from over one hundred authors. These papers drew on over 3,100 articles, books, and reports, including over 170 systematic reviews of evidence on preventing childhood violence.Know Violence also organized a series of regional meetings around the world in order to directly engage with researchers, practitioners, and policy makers.While the challenges in ending violence in childhood are significant, solutions exist and the opportunities are substantial.Governments everywhere need to adopt prevention approaches to end violence and stop treating violence in childhood as a series of bad incidents.Solutions should enhance the individual capacities of parents, caregivers, and children to deal with anger and frustration, also to report violence.Violence-prevention must be embedded in institutions – such as schools, health, and social services facilities – so that children are in violence-free spaces as they grow up.Eliminating the root causes of violence – arising from power differences, inequality, and patriarchy – can support the building of more peaceful communities.Ending Violence in Childhood calls for political leaders and policy-makers to advance proven programs to end violence in childhood.Break the silence around violence, encourage discussion of this widespread social problem, and foster movements that can bring about long-lasting change.Strengthen violence-prevention systems and improve knowledge and regular evidence gathering and reporting.Integrate violence-prevention into health, education, and social policies, and make sure violence-prevention is a core dimension of policy reform.Track progress towards ending violence by putting in place appropriate monitoring and tracking systems.Unite the movements combatting violence against women and ending violence against children, by uncovering and focusing on the links between these two pervasive threats.About Know Violence in ChildhoodLaunched in New Delhi in November 2014, Know Violence in Childhood is an international learning initiative dedicated to informing and supporting a global movement to end violence in childhood. Know Violence has analyzed existing data, commissioned new research and synthesized knowledge on the causes and consequences of violence against children worldwide. The work highlights the impact of childhood violence on individuals, families, communities and societies, expands the research base on this global crisis, and promotes evidence-based strategies to help keep children safe. Know Violence is comprised of a diverse, multi-sectoral group of 100 leading researchers and experts. The initiative operates under the leadership of Steering Committee President Lincoln Chen (President, China Medical Board) and of Global Co-Chairs AK Shiva Kumar (economist and policy adviser) and Vivien Stern (UK House of Lords). Partners include the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), the University of Delaware, and FXB. Know Violence supporters include an anonymous donor, American Jewish World Service, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the IKEA Foundation, the NOVO Foundation, OAK Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the UBS Foundation and UNICEF. Associates of Know Violence include the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, Save the Children International, Together for Girls, World Childhood Foundation and Twitter.(The article originally appeared as a press release on www.knowviolenceinchildhood.org) 
University of Edinburgh study measures impact of research on drivers of violence affecting children in Peru
Article Article

University of Edinburgh study measures impact of research on drivers of violence affecting children in Peru

The impact assessment found that the multi-partner, relationships-driven approach of the Multi-Country Study helped to maximize impact in Peru. The assessment also found that national ownership of the research process was important in ensuring that the findings were context-specific and reflective of the country’s geographic diversity and multi-culturalism, and also helped ensure national ownership and data sovereignty.
Swaziland issues a major report on the drivers of violence affecting children
Article Article

Swaziland issues a major report on the drivers of violence affecting children

A comprehensive qualitative study exploring the drivers of violence affecting children in Swaziland aims to shed light on why violence against children is happening and to make recommendations on what can be done to prevent it.

Events

Violence in the home before, during and after COVID-19
Event Event

Violence in the home before, during and after COVID-19

On Thursday 21 May at 15:00 CET | 09:00 EST UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti launches the second webinar series of “Leading Minds Online What the Experts Say- Coronavirus and Children: Violence in the Home”.
Bridging the Gaps: Reviewing the intersections of violence against women and violence against children
Event Event

Bridging the Gaps: Reviewing the intersections of violence against women and violence against children

12 March 2020 - Evidence on the points of intersection of the two forms of violence that follow parallel but distinct trajectories.
Expert Consultation on the Prevention of the Sale & Sexual Exploitation of Children
Event Event

Expert Consultation on the Prevention of the Sale & Sexual Exploitation of Children

24-25 September 2019 - The UN Special Rapporteuron the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material, Ms Maud de Boer-Buquicchioin, partnership with the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti, held a two-day expert meeting in Florence, Italy.

Partners

Videos

Research watch

Violence against children: a silent threat

Programme summaries

Investigación para informar la política: El impacto del castigo fisíco en las escuelas en los resultados educativos y de bienestar de niños y niñas peruanos

Research to Policy and Practice Process (R3Ps): Overview

Research to Policy Brief: The impact of corporal punishment in Peruvian schools

The Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children: Emerging Researchers

The Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children: Overview

The Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children: Research Uptake

Young Lives four-country analysis on child protection: risk and protective factors

Manuals, tools and guidelines

A Child-Centred Integrated Framework for Violence Prevention

List of studies, reports, videos and related outputs of the Multi-Country Study on the Drivers of Violence Affecting Children

Social Norms Field Guide: East Asia and the Pacific Region (Viet Nam, Indonesia and the Phillipines)

Social Norms Field Guide: Eastern and Southern Africa Region (Zimbabwe and Swaziland)

Understanding the drivers of violence. A step-by-step guide to conducting preliminary research around what drives violence

Conferences & Meetings

High level meeting on raising children without violence in Montenegro

Understanding Pathways

Expert Roundtable on impact of social protection on childhood violence

Social Protection and Childhood Violence: Expert Roundtable

Viet Nam country study

Understanding the drivers of violence affecting children in Viet Nam

Italy country study

A multicountry study of the drivers of violence affecting children. Italian report

Studio multi-paese sui drivers della violenza all'infanzia. Rapporto Italia

Peru country study

Entender para prevenir. Violencia hacia las niñas, niños y adolescentes en el Perù

Peru country study - Infographics

Zimbabwe country study

Addressing social norms that underpin violence against children in Zimbabwe. Findings and stategic planning document

Exploring determinants of violence in childhood: methodology of research on social norms and violence prevention in Zimbabwe

Understanding determinants of violence in childhood: a secondary analysis of the national baseline survey of the life experiences of adolescents in Zimbabwe

Implementing and improving. A national case management system for child protection in Zimbabwe

Other country studies

A systematic literature review of the drivers of violence affecting children: the Philippines

A national study on the drivers of violence affecting children in Swaziland

Una revisión sistemática de los determinantes de la violencia que afectan a niños, niñas y adolescentes: Costa Rica

Violence aganist children in Serbia: determinants, factors and interventions. A national report

Drivers of violence affecting children in Serbia: a snapshot of findings

Blogs

Bringing data on violence out of the shadows in Peru: a 25 year journey

Investigating the drivers of violence affecting children in Vietnam

Can data help end corporal punishment?

Podcasts

Mary Catherine Maternowska on Peru making progress on violence against children

Journal articles

Violence Against Children in the Asia Pacific Region: The Situation Is Becoming Clearer

Violence against children in Latin America and the Caribbean: What do available data reveal about prevalence and perpetrators?

Prevalence of violence in childhood and adolescence and the impact on educational outcomes: evidence from the 2013 Peruvian national survey on social relations

What's new

Tanzania to integrate violence prevention for women and girls

Related external links

Applying Theory to Practice: CARE’s Journey Piloting Social Norms Measures for Gender Programming

The Population Council - Adolescent girls' empowerment

The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children

Global Early Adolescent Study

Know Violence In Childhood