child protection

Keeping every child safe

Millions of children worldwide suffer violence, neglect and abuse every day. It must end.
The physical and emotional toll of violence towards children can be devastating and last a lifetime. Sadly, it is often passed on to future generations. 

Violence against children includes physical, emotional, or sexual violence, neglect, and exploitation. The cycle of violence can be prevented, but we need to make protecting our children a priority.

Challenging harmful beliefs

UNICEF is working with governments, communities, and religious groups to promote education and change around social beliefs that are harmful to children.

By involving communities in a combination of education and legislation, we have achieved lasting outcomes for children. 

It was in this way we managed to change attitudes around female genital mutilation / cutting (FGMC). Now, the majority of people in the countries where FGMC is practiced believe it should end. We've also helped bring about a decline in child marriages.

However there is still so much work to do. Only 41 countries have implemented a comprehensive ban on violence against children, and damaging attitudes and customs take time and resources to change. By supporting our work in developing communities, you make a lifelong improvement in the lives of children today, as well as generations to come.

Children in conflict

Children living in conflict and war zones are under threat every day.

In at least 20 countries around the world, an estimated 300,000 boys and girls are being recruited into government armed forces and rebel groups to serve as soldiers, cooks and messengers. Girls are being recruited for sexual purposes or for early marriage. Many of these children have been recruited by force and poverty makes children even more vulnerable to recruitment.

UNICEF works to release children from armed groups even during conflict, and help them return to their families. We give ongoing support to these vulnerable children after they've been released, and provide healthcare, education opportunities and vocational training to help them build a better future.

At least 65,000 children have been released in the past 10 years, but tens of thousands still remain working as soldiers. As long as children continue to be recruited into conflict and war, UNICEF will keep fighting to protect them.

The facts

Every 5 minutes a child dies because of preventable violence. Millions more live in fear of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

More than 17,000 children have been used in the South Sudan conflict since 2013, and children continue to be recruited today.

200 million females have experienced FGM – which can cause extreme physical and psychological pain, HIV, infertility, and death.

A UNICEF poll of over 100,000 young people across 18 countries found two-thirds of them had experienced bullying.

There were 98 attacks on Syrian schools Syria over 2015-16. In 2016 alone, 32 Syrian children were killed while at school.