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How can violence against children be prevented?

Written By : Source: WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION. Q: How can violence against children be prevented? A: There are two distinct types of violence experienced by children (defined by the United
20 Nov 2010 12:00

Written By : Source: WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION. Q: How can violence against children be prevented?
A: There are two distinct types of violence experienced by children (defined by the United Nations as anyone aged 0-18 years) – child maltreatment by parents and caregivers in children aged 0-14, and violence occurring in community settings among adolescents aged 15-18 years.
These different types of violence can be prevented by addressing the underlying causes and risk factors specific to each type.
Child maltreatment by parents and caregivers can be prevented by:
r reducing unintended pregnancies;
r reducing harmful levels of alcohol and illicit drug-use during pregnancy;
r reducing harmful levels of alcohol and illicit drug-use by new parents;
r improving access to high quality pre- and post-natal services;
r providing home visitation services by professional nurses and social workers to families where children are at high-risk of maltreatment;
r providing training for parents on child development, non-violent discipline and problem-solving skills.
Violence involving children in community settings can be prevented through:
r re-school enrichment programmes to give young children an educational head start;
r life skills training;
r assisting high-risk adolescents to complete schooling;
r reducing alcohol availability through the enactment and enforcement of liquor licensing laws, taxation and pricing;
r restricting access to firearms.
Improving the efficiency of pre-hospital and emergency medical care will reduce the risk of death, the time for recovery and the level of long-term impairment due to violence.
All violence against children and especially child-maltreatment occurring in the first decade of life is both a problem in itself and a major risk factor for other forms of violence and health problems through a person’s life.
For instance, a recent WHO study estimated that the lifetime impact of child sexual abuse accounts for approximately 6 per cent of cases of depression, 6 per cent of alcohol and drug abuse/dependence, 8 per cent of suicide attempts, 10 per cent of panic disorders and 27 per cent of post traumatic stress disorders. Other studies have also linked child physical abuse, sexual abuse and other childhood adversities to excessive smoking, eating disorders, and high-risk sexual behaviour. These in turn are associated with some of the leading causes of death including cancers and cardiovascular disorders.


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