Looking around: Never before has there been so much attention given to the formative (growth & development) experience of children across to the world. Science and Society both have challenged us equally to understand the changing experience of childhood in the 21st century. Neuroscience in particular has been providing remarkable insights into how deep the scars are in the brain of a child who has experienced violence first hand and overtime. Violence is completely sensitive to prevention and hence our action matters!
Violence is still a harsh reality for millions of children across all regions. In fact, in 2015 more than half of the world’s children have experienced some form of violence. Violence is pervasive, largely invisible, socially accepted and very often fails to be investigated and addressed says Ms.Marta Satos Pais , a global advocate for children and who till recently served as the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Violence Against Children
As witnesses or direct victims of violence, children routinely experience neglect and trauma; intimidation and humiliation; physical aggression, abuse and exploitation; and these forms of violence are very often perpetrated by those responsible for the care and protection of the child- including care and justice institutions, in schools and also within the home.
Sexual abuse: offline and online!
A significant problem faced by our children today is sexual violence. The statistics are staggering and the good thing is we as a society are more willing to acknowledge this and even more encouraging are willing to ACT. Local and global efforts are on to educate our communities and put the newly formulated laws into practice. It’s not enough though!
We have to augment our work beginning in our very homes as we know this where most of the sexual violence starts …..difficult to accept but a harsh experience for many of our children!
Sexual violence online: Sexual Exploitation of children online is estimated to be a 3 billion dollar industry worldwide!
In addition to offline sexual violence , we must also contend with new and emerging challenges, such as the risks associated with information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as grooming, sexing, cyber bullying and the sexual exploitation of children over live webcam, for example. The reality is that in many countries, technology has moved faster than the State’s capacity to respond and countries still largely lack laws, policies, mechanisms and institutions to protect children from these serious risks. The graph below gives us a glimpse of the growing scale of the problem.
The cross-border nature of many of the risks children face in cyberspace requires international cooperation, which is currently only weakly developed and one that was acknowledged at the Regional Interfaith Dialogue on Child Dignity Online held in September 2018 at New Delhi jointly hosted by the Interfaith alliance, Arigatou International and Shanti Ashram which brought together a range of stakeholders to the discussion table for the first time.
One of the most impressive facts about early childhood is constituted by the development of the brain. Only recently, neuroscience has been able to measure the development of the brain and to study those factors that can contribute or hinder healthy brain development. The brain is the only organ not fully developed at birth. Let us protect our children from this pandemic of violence! And this is precisely why our common work is so decisive!
Article:Dr.Kezevino Aram, President, Shanti Ashram
Source: “They cab change the world” The Hindu November 13 2015(https://www.hindu.com/society/an-event-organized-by-sri-krishna-sweets-aims-to-create-awarness–on-child-abuse/article27696183.ece) .