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Evidence SynthesesJournal Articles
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World Health Organisation

Global Prevalence of Past-year Violence Against Children: A Systematic Review and Minimum Estimates.

This paper provides important prevalence data on the scale of violence (emotional, physical, sexual and multiple exposures) against children around the world. The researchers carried out a systematic review of data from national population surveys in 96 countries to gauge past-year estimates.  

The review of thirty-eight reports found that at least half of all children globally (more than 1 billion children ages 2–17 years) experienced such violence in the past year. This is likely an underestimate because violence against children is underreported and because data was not available for many countries, especially in the Global South. Where quality data was available, estimates indicate that the Asian, African, and Northern American regions had the highest minimum prevalence. Because of the sheer size of the Asian population, the minimum estimate of numbers of children experiencing past-year violence there was ∼2 times greater than in the other regions combined. 

These data demonstrate an urgent need for multi-sectoral interventions that prevent violence at home, in schools and communities. A comprehensive approach to prevention is needed, as children experience multiple types of violence. There is also a need for international consensus on defining and measuring childhood violence to track progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals universally. More information is needed on the range of types, locations, and perpetrators of violence against children. 

Date published
  • 2016
Author(s)
  • Susan Hillis
  • James Mercy
  • Adaugo Amobi
  • Howard Kress
Published by Pediatrics
Region