Political, Financial Commitment, Sustained Action Needed To End Violence Against Children

Project Syndicate: No Excuse for Violence Against Children
Etienne Krug, director of the WHO’s Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence, and Injury Prevention (NVI); Zoleka Mandela, writer and activist; and Howard Taylor, executive director of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (GPEVAC)

“…[V]iolence, mental and sexual trauma, and substance abuse are interrelated issues that can have a deep and lasting impact on the lives of children. … Victims often experience lifelong social, emotional, and cognitive consequences. They are at higher risk not just of depression, anxiety, and suicide, but also heart disease, obesity, and HIV/AIDS. And these effects are regularly passed down to the next generation … Still, prevention is possible, response services can be made more available, and the political will to address the problem is at an all-time high. … Health policy is a crucial component of progress … The global health community has confronted similar challenges before. There has been tremendous progress toward ending childhood deaths from malaria, tuberculosis, and other preventable diseases. These gains are the result of political and financial commitments, and of sustained attention and action on the part of governments and multilateral institutions. The same level of commitment and action is needed to address the scourge of violence against children. Making the investments needed to end violence against children will also accelerate progress toward a number of other [Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)]. But if we do not make those investments, the hard-fought progress that has already been made toward universal health care, high-quality education, and other SDGs will be offset, or even reversed. … [W]orld leaders must redouble their commitment to ensure that all children are afforded the safety and opportunities they deserve” (7/11).