As world leaders come together in New York to discuss the next set of global priorities, new research released today shows that physical, psychological and sexual violence perpetrated against children costs up to US$7 trillion over the children’s lifetime.
The study, commissioned by ChildFund Alliance and conducted by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), reveals that the total costs of physical, psychological and sexual violence against children are up to 8 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is more than the GDPs of Australia, Canada, India, and Mexico combined.
This global estimate is based on previous research on the costs of violence against children in high- and middle-income countries. Researchers used these estimates to obtain a global cost in terms of productivity loss for the total number of victims in a given year.
The study also estimates that the global costs of children forced to work in hazardous conditions, which deprives them of their childhood, amount to more than US$97 billion every year; and that the annual costs of children being recruited by armed forces and groups are US$144 million.
This research is adding to the weight of evidence that Governments need to ensure that violence against children is addressed in their new global agenda, which children around the world are calling for world leaders to do.
“This research clearly demonstrates that the cost of not acting on violence against children is far more expensive than preventing it – prevention pays” said Andrew Johnson, acting Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance. “It is vital that the post-2015 agenda addresses violence against children. Children themselves are calling for Governments to finish the job they started 15 years ago with the MDGs and for the prevention of violence to be included in the new agenda.”
In a second study also released today, children are clear that violence perpetrated against them must be a part of the new global agenda.
ChildFund Alliance conducted over 50 consultations with children in 40 countries across Africa, Asia Pacific, the Americas and Europe, including two consultations in Ireland.This study of over 2,300 individual children collected their views, aspirations and priorities for the post-2015 agenda.
Children strongly endorsed that the gains made under the MDGs should continue, with their top three issues being: the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger (82%), universal primary education (81%), and the eradication of HIV and AIDS (74%).
In 82% of all participating countries, children want prevention of violence and exploitation to be one of the new priorities for the years following 2015, and made specific calls for ending bullying, child labour, child marriage, child trafficking, corporal punishment, female genital mutilation and cutting, recruitment of children by armed forces or groups, and violence in schools.
They want Governments to ensure that everyone –men and women, boys and girls– can benefit from good quality education and healthcare systems. On the environment, children said they want more trees planted than cut (67%); less use of toxic materials and more recycling (59%); and less greenhouse emissions and cleaner air (31%).
Children want to be involved in the monitoring of the next generation of development goals, and are aware of the importance of measuring progress at the local level, and with the direct engagement of the communities.
CHILDFUND IRELAND is a member of ChildFund Alliance which is a worldwide alliance of 12 children’s development organisations working in 58 countries to improve the lives of vulnerable and excluded children, helping them overcome poverty and achieve their rights.
ChildFund Alliance’s global campaign ‘free from violence’ has been set up to advocate to Governments for the inclusion of the prevention of violence and exploitation of children as one of the development priorities in the post-2015 agenda and to raise awareness at all levels of these issues.