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.

We work to free children from harm


Challenging harmful beliefs

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 girls and women in most countries where FGMC is practised think it should end. We've also helped bring about a decline in child marriages.
During the past decade, the proportion of young women who were married as children decreased by 15 per cent, from 1 in 4 (25%) to approximately 1 in 5 (21%). Still, approximately 650 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. By working with a range of stakeholders, from grassroots organisations to high-level decision makers, we continue to work towards ending child marriage.
However there is still so much work to do. Only 58 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.

We work to free children from harm

Promoting child development

It's estimated that there are thousands of child soldiers across at least 20 countries worldwide. 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.

In the ten years until 2017, at least 65,000 children were released from armed groups, but 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.

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.

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UNICEF Aotearoa helps save and protect the world's most vulnerable children

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