75 percent of the world's children experience violence. Violence takes many forms, including physical and emotional abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, and neglect or deliberate deprivation. Growing up with violence, and the threat of violence, can lead to life-long physical, emotional and mental health problems.
Children living in conflict or emergency situations, such as natural disasters or major pandemics are even more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and violence. Children living in conflict face the threat of being killed or maimed, falling victim to sexual violence, and being recruited as child soldiers. In many cases, children are specifically targeted.
Our child protection teams work to keep children safe around the world regardless of who they are or where they are from. We help children who are moving across borders, living on the streets or in refugee camps. We focus on children at heightened risk, including girls who are forced into child marriages, or young boys and girls who are forced into dangerous working conditions or recruited as child soldiers.
When children experience trauma, we work to ensure they receive the care, rehabilitation and psychosocial support they need to be children again.
We work with families and communities to promote positive social norms and behaviours to help prevent violence against children.
We also work with governments and international institutions around the world to help strengthen their child protection systems and train social workers.
In 2017, three million children were helped by our child protection work. One of the children we helped is Sali,* aged 14.
Sali witnessed the death of her older brother, her aunt and two of her cousins when their home was hit by aircraft fire in Aden, Yemen.
After the attack, Sali went back to school but was unable to concentrate in her classes because of the trauma she experienced. Our child protection team recognised that Sali needed care and she was enrolled in our rehabilitation programme, where she received counselling and psychosocial support.
Sali is doing much better now. She goes to school every day, is enjoying her classes and hopes to become a teacher in the future.