MESSAGE FROM MANAGING TRUSTEE

 

Responding to Violence Against Children (VAC)

Children are the heartbeat of any society, and their health, development and well-being is our collective responsibility. Needless to say, the health and security of country’s children is integral to any vision for its progress and development. Violence against children (VAC) includes all forms of violence against people under 18 years old, whether perpetrated by parents or other caregivers, peers, romantic partners, or strangers. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year globally. VAC is both a human-rights violation and a personal and public health problem that incurs huge costs for both individuals and society. All forms of VAC are violations of the United Nations Child Rights Convention (UN CRC) . Providing global impetus to this issue, the elimination of VAC is also called for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, most explicitly in Target 16.2: “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children” (Figure 1).

Figure1. Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDG) 2030

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As the Managing Trustee of the Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha (BUDS), I am reaching out to each one of you to join hands in creating a protective shield around our young ones. Our commitment to preventing VAC is not just a moral imperative but a legal obligation as well.  Interpersonal violence or Child maltreatment (CM) is one of the most recognized forms of VAC worldwide, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse, which may occur in combination. The other forms of VAC include ‘domestic violence’ or intimate partner violence;

Community violence such as Schools: bullying, corporal punishment; Institutional violence in child care institutions; Child labor, gender based violence, commercial sexual exploitation, marriage, illicit adoption, and begging.

The VAC exerts a multitude of short and long term health consequences on children, including serious and often lifelong adverse consequences on mental and physical health, reproductive health, academic performance, and social functioning.  The impact of violence on a child’s life can be profound and far-reaching, affecting their future relationships, mental health, and overall quality of life. It is our duty to ensure that every child grows up in an environment that fosters love, support, and safety.

To achieve this goal, we must:
Raise Awareness: Education is the first step towards prevention. Let us work together to raise awareness about the different forms of violence children may face.
Strengthen Child Protection Support Systems: Establish and strengthen child protection support systems within your community. Encourage open communication, active listening, and the reporting of any signs of VAC.

Educate Caregivers: Provide education and resources to parents, guardians, and caregivers on positive parenting practices, stress management, and non-violent discipline techniques.
Empower Children: Empower children with knowledge and skills to protect themselves. Teach them about their rights, boundaries, and the importance of seeking help if they ever feel unsafe.
Create Safe Spaces: Establish safe spaces within your community where children can freely express themselves and seek support without fear of judgment or retaliation.

Advocate for Policies: Advocate for policies that protect children from violence. Collaborate with local authorities to ensure that the necessary legal frameworks are in place and enforced.

It is only through our collective efforts that we can build a society where every child feels safe, valued, and free from violence. I urge each one of you to actively participate in our initiatives and support the cause of preventing violence against children.

Let us be the champions our children need!

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Dr Rajeev Seth

MD (AIIMS), FIAP, FAAP (USA)

 

 

 

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