All children have the right to be protected from violence, exploitation and abuse. Yet every day, millions of children of all ages, from all socio-economic backgrounds, religions and cultures, suffer violence, exploitation and abuse.
Every year, between 500 million and 1.5 billion children worldwide endure some form of violence. Annually there are more than 41,000 homicide deaths in children under the age of 15 years.
Violence, exploitation and abuse are often inflicted by someone known to the child, such as a parent or other family member, teacher, employer, and even other children. Only a small proportion of child abuse is reported and investigated, and few perpetrators are held accountable.
Since 1982, the 4th June has been recognised as ‘International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression’. The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the suffering of children who are victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse, and to affirm our societal commitment to protect the rights of children throughout the world.
Much can be done to prevent violence against children, including measures to tackle poverty and disadvantage, strengthening of child protection systems and legislation, and more awareness and education on child abuse prevention and intervention.
Since 1991, Child Wise, an Australian not-for-profit organisation, has been dedicated to protecting children from abuse and exploitation. Child Wise works to build awareness, deliver education, and provide the tools to empower individuals and communities to actively prevent child abuse and exploitation.
“Our vision is a society in which children can grow up free from abuse and exploitation”, says Child Wise CEO, Steve Betinsky. “In order to reduce the incidence and impact of child abuse and exploitation, we all need to work together. Parents, carers, organisations and governments all have an important part to play in protecting children”.
International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression is an opportunity to remind ourselves of our duty to uphold the UN Declaration of the Rights if the Child for each and every one of the 2.2 billion children in the world. All children, without exception, deserve to be protected against violence, exploitation and abuse.