Stopping violence against children


WHO update

Child homicide kills 53,000 children under 18 years in the world every year. In the European Region, this amounts to 1,500 children under 14 years being killed every year. However child abuse is far more prevalent, being reported by 20% and 10% of female and male adults respectively. Two major reports were published in October 2006 to highlight the tragedy of violence against children, the UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence Against Children and the WHO's Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence. These launches are being followed up by concerted series of activities aimed at putting a stop to violence against children.

The UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence Against Children was launched on 11 October 2006 during the United Nations General Assembly. WHO has provided extensive technical support for the study, along with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNICEF. The report draws extensively upon WHO research findings and prevention recommendations, and includes the violence prevention knowledge and experience brought together by the World report on violence and health and the Global Campaign for Violence Prevention. WHO staff has helped disseminate the report. This was followed by the World report on violence against children which presents the scientific evidence that the UN Study is based upon and was launched in Geneva on 20 November 2006, Universal Children's Day, and the 15th anniversary of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

WHO's main follow up to this Study is built around the publication Preventing child maltreatment: a guide to taking action and generating evidence, launched on 16 October 2006. This key document aims to assist countries in the design and delivery of programmes for the prevention of child maltreatment by parents and caregivers. The guide is a practical tool that will help governments implement the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General's Study on Violence Against Children. On the occasion of the launch, WHO hosted a seminar on preventing child maltreatment with speakers from WHO and the US Centres for Disease Control.

As a part of the European activities there was a national launch in Italy on 12 October with UNICEF and WHO participating with the Italian Government. As part of the campaign, there have been national launches of the UN Report in Spain and Germany and others will be hosted by the Human Security Network (1-2 December, Ljubljana, Slovenia), the Belgian Government (6 December, Brussels) and by the Council of Europe (First semester 2007, Strasbourg, France). It is envisaged that further launches will be planned in the European Region and WHO will be working closely with other UN agencies and the network of national focal persons for violence prevention in supporting Member States. In addition WHO will provide support for country-level implementation of the Guide. WHO encourages all groups planning a national launch of the Secretary-General's Study to focus on the guide as a concrete contribution to follow up activities.

Source: Dinesh Sethi and Francesca Racioppi, WHO Europe

For a copy of the guide, please contact Ms Claire Scheurer ( or download from: (PDF)

For further information:

World report on violence against children

There is an International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) European Regional Conference and the deadline for abstract submission is 15 April 2007 -

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