Child Abuse: The Facts and Figures
Writers: Sara Park, Tetyana Rymska, Leyla Abbasova
Visual: Hannah Veve
Child abuse takes place in various forms. Physical abuse occurs when a child is physically injured, although it does not always leave visible signs. Examples include hitting, burning, and using physical restraints. Emotional abuse is when a child is being treated in a way that negatively impacts their social, emotional, or intellectual development. Forms of emotional abuse include rejection, yelling, criticism, isolation, and more. Another type of abuse is sexual abuse, which happens when a person uses their power or authority over a child to involve them in sexual activity. Finally, neglect occurs when a child's basic needs, such as food, housing, and healthcare, are not met.
Statistics clearly illustrate the prevalence of child abuse at a global scale and the detrimental effects it can have on victims. A report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds around the world. In addition, individuals who reported experiencing 6 or more adverse childhood experiences were found to have an average life expectancy 2 decades shorter compared to those who reported none. In the Philippines, cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children increased by 264.6% between March and May 2020. This tells us that as children are forced to stay at home due to the pandemic, they are at higher risk of being exposed to abuse and lack opportunities to seek help.
Many organizations recognize the severity of this issue and are making efforts to protect children more effectively. The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors global rates of child abuse and publishes regular status reports in order to raise awareness about the issue. It also actively supports individual country efforts to eradicate child abuse. Another organization, UNICEF, focuses on improving data availability and building evidence in order to hold people accountable for child abuse. It also works with national and local governments, businesses, and organizations to help children gain access to social services. With the combined efforts of people around the world, it can be hoped that the issue of child abuse will become a thing of the past.