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End violence against children

20 March 2018, Impact of Our Work

Take a moment to think back to your childhood.

You might recall riding your bike through the safe streets of your neighbourhood. Or perhaps you'll remember playing hide and seek in a wide school playground. Sadly, many children around the world will never make these comforting memories and hide and seek can be a deadly game – played not for fun, but for their lives.

The threat of violence against children is very real. In fact, one child dies of violence every 5 minutes, a sobering fact we can change with your help.

Violence against children can manifest in many ways, but the devastating effect it has on children is universally unforgiving. In every country and every culture, there are children living in fear of violence and abuse. Sometimes violence is blatant and overt, such as a child fleeing war or conflict, sold or trafficked against their will, or forced into early marriage. At other times abuse against children is cloaked in secrecy and silence, happening at home, behind closed doors.

Manar* fled life under ISIS

Imagine a childhood spent living in fear of every plane that flies overhead. Imagine the terror of gunmen storming your house, killing family members before your eyes.

These are memories that change children forever. The horrors of war can leave children so deeply scarred, they live in constant fear for their lives – unable to show emotion and suffering from vivid waking nightmares.

Life under ISIS was horrible. There was shelling all the time and they were going around the city killing men and leaving them hanging on the poles in the street. I remember that the body of one man was left hanging for four days in a row. Instead of going to school, I would stay at home … After ISIS came, I stopped seeing my friends … I miss them a lot, especially my best friend Talia. I don’t know where she is and I miss her a lot. I really miss being in school. I was happy to learn.  - Manar*, 10 years old, Hammam Al Alil Camp, Iraq

Save the Children provides water, food and shelter in emergencies, as well as responding to the emotional and mental health needs of children is in conflict zones around the world. We have staff trained specifically to help children deal with the horrors of war. In circumstances where children are separated from family, we keep them safe and supported and do everything we can to reunite them.

Shirisha* was tricked into working in a brothel

The horrific practice of child trafficking is often hidden and hard to trace. Trafficking happens in every region in the world with devastating physical and psychological consequences. Traffickers often lure unsuspecting children with the promise of school, work or a better life, only to force them into a grim world of child labour, military service or prostitution.

Shirisha* ran away from home when she was just 11 because people in her village in Nepal were trying to force her to marry. On the bus to Kathmandu, she met a woman who persuaded her to come to her flat in India. But the woman tricked Shirisha into working in a brothel. After she’d been there three months, the brothel was raided and Shirisha was rescued … But she remains haunted by what she experienced.

"When I found out what was done there, my soul died completely. Sometimes the drugs were in my food, sometimes they sprayed something in the room. After 15 or 20 minutes, you’d go unconscious. I was never awake when they did it to me. Even if you want to forget it all, you can’t."  - Shirisha*, 19, Nepal

Save the Children runs programs all over the world that provide protection and support for children who have experienced or are vulnerable to trafficking. We advocate to governments to increase protective services and we offer the opportunity and the space to play, to learn and to rebuild hope for a brighter future.

Asha* was forced into adulthood far too soon

Child marriage is a global issue that transcends countries, cultures and religions. A forced early marriage can bring an abrupt end to girl’s childhood; forcing her into adulthood and motherhood before she is physically and mentally ready.

"They told me I had to stay at home and get married, and that if I got married to a good man, he could pay for me to go to school. A few days later, they were in the house, talking to a man. They called me over and told me, 'This is the man you will marry and he will send you to a good school.' My aunts just took me to his house and that was it. On the first night, he took me by force and he beat me. I stayed here for two months and he beat me every day. Often, he wouldn’t even give me food. When I found out I was pregnant, I felt very bad because I felt I had lost all my dreams.." - Asha*, 13, Tanzania

Save the Children runs programs all over the world that build community awareness, encourage peer support, and offer education for parents and children. We provide training to help empower young people and encourage them to understand their rights. We also work with governments and authorities at the national and local levels, making sure they are working to protect children from harmful traditional practices.
 

Together with people like you, we can help counter the many forms of child violence.

  • We run programs all over the world that provide protection and support for children who have experienced or are vulnerable to trafficking.
  • We help children in war and conflict zones, responding to the emotional and mental health needs of children who have experienced or witnessed violence.
  • Our Family Support Services help parents with complex problems meet the emotional, developmental and physical needs of their children and encourage them to access appropriate support such as drug and alcohol, domestic violence and mental health services.
  • We also work with governments and authorities at the national and local levels, making sure they are working to protect children from harmful traditional practices, such as child marriage.

Disclaimer: If you are a child, or know a child that may be under threat of violence, emotional or physical abuse please call Kids Help Line on 1800 551 800 or visit www.theline.org.au to access a 24 hour telephone or online counselling service for young people aged between 5 and 18. You may also report a suspected child abuse scenario via 1800 688 009 or visit www.childabuseprevention.com.au.

* Names changed to protect their identities.

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