Protecting Children From The Violence Related To Social Norms
A recent UNICEF analysis of available data from 62 countries revealed the following worrying statistics.
- Of children between the ages of 2 and 14, 80% (or 4 out of every 5) have had to endure violent means of discipline.
- Within 23 countries, most of which are affected by conflict, 1 in 5 children have been subjected to corporal punishment in its most severe forms.
These types of correction are part of the social norms of many cultures and are generally viewed as accepted behaviour. As such, they prevail and are perpetuated, with harsh punishments being meted out to children both at home and at school.
Identification of what drives these norms, making violence against children an accepted mode of disciplining them, is crucial to change. Understanding how to approach the protection of children from unnecessary acts of violence will require an in-depth look at the dynamics of the societies in which they live. Once such careful research is conducted and analysed, proactive interventions can be developed with the aim to change the mind-set of adults and begin the formulation of new social norms.
Organizations that offer aid are in the unique position of being able to reach and influence communities in a way that other entities cannot. They must be given the resources to design and implement preventive strategies that will assure the protection of children along with the development of their communities.
The reduction of violence toward children must be made a priority and those in the best position to help must be given priority support as well.