International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression

International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression

A Born Well Child Campaign 9th June- 8th July 2020

COVID-19 and Aggression toward Children

When you are an adult and that child cannot access hand-washing materials due to your actions or inaction, then that is a COVID-19 related vulnerability and aggression. We must provide opportunities for children to grow and develop well. Every child has the right to be born well, to be cared for and raised well.

When you are a family and the children cannot access food, care, love, compassion, privacy, agency, autonomy and self-determination tools, then that is aggression.

When you are a community and that community cannot provide the necessary safety nets to avoid COVID-19, then that is aggression.

There are different types of abuses:

·         Physical abuse.

·         sexual child abuse (Rape, molestation, child pornography)

·         Neglect (Physical neglect, educational neglect, and lack of protection from diseases)

·         Emotional abuse (Verbal, Mental, or Psychological related)

·         Domestic violence or abuse.

·         Sexual abuse

·         Financial or material abuse

·         Modern slavery

·         Discriminatory abuse

·         Organisational or institutional abuse

These abuses can lead to COVID-19 related vulnerability to children.

 

The UN states that “It is a sad reality that in situations where armed conflict breaks out, children are the most vulnerable members of societies. Children are most affected by the consequences of war. The six most common violations are recruitment and use of children in war, killing, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access. On 19 August 1982, at its emergency special session on the question of Palestine, the General Assembly, “appalled at the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children victims of Israel’s acts of aggression”, decided to commemorate 4 June of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression. The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. This day affirms the UN's commitment to protect the rights of children. Its work is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.”

Whereas the UN lists recruitment into vices and fighting in wars, the Sefton Council on Children has a comprehensive list on why are children and young people vulnerable. High on the agenda is sexual exploitation according to them.

The common issues and reasons can be due to a number of factors including a young person’s low self-esteem and a poor self-image. Young people who run away from home are recognised as being more at risk of being targeted as a victim of sexual exploitation. Vulnerabilities are identified and targeted by the abuser, whether the young person is living with their family, looked after, away from home or they have run away.

Sexual exploitation can be linked to other issues in a child or young person’s life, and authorities may only have limited opportunities to gain their trust so it is very important that we all are able to recognise the warning signs that a child may be a victim of, or at risk of sexual exploitation.

The following are typical vulnerabilities in children prior to abuse:

·         Living in a chaotic or dysfunctional household (including parental substance use, domestic violence, parental mental health issues, parental criminality)

·         History of abuse (including familial child sexual abuse, risk of forced marriage, risk of 'honour'-based violence, physical and emotional abuse and neglect) 

·         Recent bereavement or loss

·         Gang association either through relatives, peers or intimate relationships

·         Attending school with young people who are sexually exploited

·         Learning disabilities

·         Unsure about their sexual orientation or unable to disclose sexual orientation to their families

·         Friends with young people who are sexually exploited

·         Homelessness

·         Lacking friends from the same age group

·         Living in a gang neighbourhood

·         Living in residential care

·         Living in hostel, bed and breakfast accommodation or a foyer

·         Low self-esteem or self-confidence

·         Young care-givers taking care of them.

Our work at grassroots has brought the following issues to our attention too. In order to accommodate the needs of children as they grow we have noted the following are leading to child related life span grown and development: Poverty, poorly planned built infrastructure and life endangering practices such as smoking, lack of play areas and the like.  

Physical, economic, social and political factors determine people's level of vulnerability and the extent of their capacity to resist, cope with and recover from hazards. Poverty is a major contributor to vulnerability. We have come up with Prevention Communities of Best Practices (PCOBs). These tap into the traditional African philanthropy and altruism as well as hierarchical organising of communities to set child protection on the agenda at grassroots.

This is part of our campaigns to mark International Days

According to the UN, International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.

Conclusion:

We must provide opportunities for children to grow and develop in contexts that affirm their dignity; protect them from vulnerability; and which ensure the child can lead a happy and fulfilling quality life. Every child has the right to be born well, to be cared for and raised well.



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