“One billion children experience violence and abuse every year,” the statement opens. “That shocking figure has risen even higher during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Violence prevention and response services have been disrupted for 1.8 billion children living in more than 100 countries., the statement notes.
“Measures to contain the virus, along with economic hardship and family stress, have combined to create ‘perfect storm’ conditions for children vulnerable to observing or experiencing physical, emotional and sexual abuse,” the message reads. “Despite the benefits of digital connectivity, a life lived more online for learning, socialising and gaming has significantly increased children’s exposure to those who wish to harm them.”
Today, we stand at a critical moment for the world’s children, the statement notes. “Unless we act now and with urgency, we risk losing a generation of children to the long-term impacts of violence and abuse that will undermine child safety, health, learning and development long after the pandemic subsides,” the message reads. “We cannot let that happen.”
Now is the time to redouble our collective efforts, the statement urges.
“Together, as leaders of organisations committed to ending violence against children, we urge leaders in government, the private sector, faith communities, multilateral organisations, civil society and sports bodies to seize the moment and be champions of this agenda in their countries, organisations, networks and communities,” the message urges. “We must do all we can to keep children safe during the current turmoil, and work together to build back better — to end all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation of children.”