Kyiv, 4 June 2019 – The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Government of Ukraine and partners organized the first nationalwide conference to unite the efforts to prevent and address violence against children in Ukraine at the End Violence Against Children conference in Kyiv.

“End Violence Against Children” is the first major national event that focuses on the problem of violence against children in Ukraine. The conference brings together government officials, UN agencies, donors, international and national experts and civil society, as well as academia to discuss the devastating effects of violence on children, touch upon different strategies to eliminate violence against girls and boys through prevention and response. The goal of the event is to mobilize efforts for developing efficient solutions, preventive mechanisms, and cross-sectoral cooperation to address the issue. The conference aims to raise awareness of various stakeholders on the issue to develop a Roadmap to end violence against children in Ukraine.

Violence against children is a global phenomenon that became apparent only within the past two decades. Research shows that every year an estimated 1 billion children around the world experience physical, sexual, emotional violence or neglect.[1] Violence against children threatens global development. Witnessing or experiencing emotional, sexual and physical violence affects children’s health, wellbeing and future. Violence harms not just individual children or families, but negatively impacts entire societies.

The latest data on Ukraine[2] shows that the issue remains largely underreported in the country. Some forms of domestic violence against children are accepted as a social norm. According to 2018 UNICEF’s report, 42% of parents believe that emotional violence against a child is acceptable for educational purposes. The share of those, who permit use of physical force against a child as a disciplinary measure, is 14%.

“Violence against children can never be justified, tolerated, or ignored,” said Osnat Lubrani, UN System Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator. “Leaders all over the world made a commitment to end violence against children by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Today’s conference brings together all major stakeholders in Ukraine for the same goal. We believe that this moment is a unique opportunity to unite all endeavors behind a national movement and to protect Ukraine’s most precious asset: its children.”

The “End Violence Against Children” conference builds on the political will of the Ukrainian Government to address the issue on multiple levels. The significant gaps in the capacity to detect and eliminate cases of violence can be successfully addressed only through the strengthening of intersectoral cooperation. Joint efforts should aim for early identification, prevention and response to violence against children.

“Ukraine is committed to end violence against children. Systematic national data collection and research efforts are essential to shed light on this ‘invisible’ problem and protect children. We will make extra efforts to collect and to use the data on violence against children in the development of national policies and strategies. Our efforts will require improved coordination and collaboration at all levels. Thus, the Government of Ukraine expresses its high level commitment to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated action to end violence against children in Ukraine,” assured in the Government of Ukraine.

“Violence against children can and must be prevented. As the first step, we should ensure that violence in all its forms is documented through solid data. Child protection is a challenge for all of us. Public health, education, criminal justice, social services, human rights organization, media and business – all have a common interest in eliminating violence against children. By working together we can find more efficient and effective ways to achieve this goal,” admitted Laura Bill, UNICEF Deputy Representative.

Protecting children from harm is at the heart of UNICEF’s mandate, and has been since the organization’s inception. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guides UNICEF’s work, specifies that every child, everywhere, has the right to survive, grow and be protected from all forms of violence. The principle of preventing and responding to violence, abuse and exploitation of children sets a foundation of the new UNICEF strategic plan.

###

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org/ukraine

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:
Nina Sorokopud, UNICEF Ukraine, Tel: +380503882951; nsorokopud@unicef.org

[1] Global Prevalence of Past-year Violence Against Children: A Systematic Review and Minimum Estimates by S. Hillis et al., 2016

[2] UNICEF Ukraine research on domestic and gender-based violence, 2018.