Last week UNICEF released their first ever report on the extent of violence against children around the world. It’s a shocking report, whose front cover features the (faceless) body of a seven-year old girl who was raped by her eighteen year old neighbour. The photo, despite not having a face to put the body to, is heart breaking. This young child’s body language reflects not only just how small and vulnerable she is, but just how awful her ordeal. And that’s just the report’s covering image.

The report, which is over 200 pages long, painstakingly details the definitions, extent and types of violence children across the globe are exposed to on a daily basis. We will leave you to read the report without offering a breakdown here as we haven’t yet had the chance to read it fully ourselves (such is the way here when we feel we need to share something with you immediately), but we’ve added a list of ten facts taken from the report, below:

  • In 2012 alone, homicide took the lives of about 95,000 children and
    adolescents under the age of 20 – almost 1 in 5 of all homicide
    victims that year.
  • Around 6 in 10 children between the ages of 2 and 14 worldwide
    (almost a billion) are subjected to physical punishment by their
    caregivers on a regular basis.
  • Close to 1 in 3 students between the ages of 13 and 15 worldwide
    report involvement in one or more physical fights in the past year.
  • Slightly more than 1 in 3 students between the ages of 13 and 15
    worldwide experience bullying on a regular basis.
  • About 1 in 3 adolescents aged 11 to 15 in Europe and North
    America admit to having bullied others at school at least once
    in the past couple of months.
  • Almost one quarter of girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide
    (almost 70 million) report being victims of some form of physical
    violence since age 15.
  • Around 120 million girls under the age of 20 (about 1 in 10)
    have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced
    sexual acts at some point in their lives. Boys are also at risk, although
    a global estimate is unavailable due to the lack of comparable data in
    most countries.
  • 1 in 3 adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide (84 million)
    have been the victims of any emotional, physical or sexual violence
    committed by their husbands or partners at some point in their lives.
  • About 3 in 10 adults worldwide believe that physical punishment
    is necessary to properly raise or educate children.
  • Close to half of all girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide (around
    126 million) think a husband is sometimes justified in hitting or
    beating his wife

Violence against children transcends culture, geography and religion. It is something so inherent world-wide in varying degrees that it must be placed at the top of every government’s agenda. How can we consider ourselves to be a modern and enlightened society if we still do not understand the importance of protecting our children?