Battle to end violence against children in Australia’s neighbourhood critically underfunded

Children play at Learning Centre in the Rohingya refugee cam
Children enjoy playing at the learning center for children. As of December 2019, every day in total 3,119 children attend in the World Vision’s 11 UNICEF-funded learning centers (ages 3-14) in the Rohingya refugee camps. Children learn English, Science, Life Skills, Math, and Burmese,
  • More than one billion children experience violence every year, costing world economies between $AU2.61 trillion to $AU9.15 trillion annually
  • Just over $AU653 million (less than $AU1.30 per child and 0.9 per cent of total development investments), went directly towards ending violence against children between 2017 and 2018
  • World Vision estimated that 85 million extra children are at risk of violence because of the impacts of COVID-19

The battle to end violence against children is critically underfunded in Australia’s region, despite one billion children globally experiencing violence, costing economies up to $AU9.15 trillion a year, a report by World Vision has revealed.

Counting Pennies II, published by World Vision International and partner aid agencies Save the Children, UNICEF, Plan International and Child Fund, reveals that less than $AU2.6 billion was invested in causes related to ending violence against children, with only $AU668 million (less than $AU1.30 per child) towards specific projects to tackle violence against children.

More positively, researchers also found that since the initial report, Counting Pennies I (2017), investment into ending violence against children had increased by 67 per cent globally, but Australia is ranked eighth out of 10, contributing $AU82 million to end violence against children.

“While this is a large contribution, it still falls short of the additional $AU55 million we estimate is needed to address violence in the region,” World Vision Australia’s Child Rights senior policy advisor, Mercy Jumo, said.

“Violence against children not only undermines humanitarian aid and development progress, has an enormous negative impact for the children affected and for global economies.”

Ms Jumo said children accounted for half of those living in poverty and more than half of the world’s refugees, and investing in children was a sound investment as it brought a trinity of development benefits.

“The report confirms the sad fact that children are an afterthought, and that even before the pandemic, their needs were overlooked and underfunded.

“Investment in children not only immediately improves the lives of those vulnerable children, but builds their health, capacity and productivity for the future and lays the foundations for strong development outcomes for the next generation,” she said.

Adequate funding of ending violence against children in the Pacific, for example, was in Australia’s national and regional interest, she said.

A joint 2019 report by World Vision, Save the Children, ChildFund and Plan Australia called on the Government to invest $55 million over three years in specific programs to address ending violence against children in the region – something which had undoubtedly grown due to the impact of COVID-19.

A 2020 World Vision survey of seven cities in India alone found more than 300 million children in city slums and temporary settlements were at greater risk of hunger and violence abuse due to COVID-19.

World Vision has also called for the establishment of a separate Child Rights Unit within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and development of a specific Children’s Strategy for Australian Aid.

Andrew Morley, World Vision International President & CEO, said: “World Vision welcomes the increase in funding to end violence against children as a step in the right direction. But even with this progress, the number of children exposed to violence is likely to increase. We predict 85 million more children are now at risk of violence due to the impact of COVID-19.

“Even with a 67 per cent increase in funding, we are still in a position where less than 1 per cent of foreign aid is prioritised for children in desperate need of protection and support. Clearly more needs to be done. As a child-focused organisation, it is of critical concern that less than 1 per cent* of all overseas aid funding goes towards ending violence against children.”

Story Source: World Vision Australia

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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