Violence vs children up during pandemic

Published December 3, 2020, 12:17 PM

by Richa Noriega

The incidence of violence against children has increased globally amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Save the Children reported Wednesday.

(Photo by RAUL ARBOLEDA / STAFF / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The child rights group said at least one in six children reported violence at home during the pandemic, mostly in the form of physical and verbal abuse.

They also added that one in five parents and caregivers similarly reported violence at home.

According to Save the Children, the study was based on a survey of 31,683 parents and caregivers, and 13,477 children aged between 11-17 years old in 46 countries, including the Philippines.

“Violence in the home setting is strongly linked with loss of household income,” the group said.

Five percent of children whose families did not lose their source of income due to the pandemic reported violence at home.

Nineteen percent of children whose families lost their household income source reported violence and risk of violence in their homes.

“The result of the research study is alarming and compels us to listen to our children so we can come up with COVID-19 mitigating measures with a child-rights lens,” Save the Children Philippines Chief Executive Officer Atty. Alberto Muyot said.

“We call on the national and local governments to prioritize child protection within COVID-19 response plans, and put children’s rights at the core of national and local level infectious disease emergency preparedness plans,” he added.

SCP Child Protection Advisor Wilma Banaga said support services to parents and caregivers, including counseling and parenting advice, should be integrated in the COVID-19 response on the community level.

“The pandemic increases the stress of parents and caregivers because of the fear of getting infected, the struggle to bring food on the table, and the continued uncertainties of the situation. Increased levels of stress can sometimes lead to increased aggression towards their children or their spouses,” Banaga said.

The group underscored that the mental health and psycho-social well-being of parents and caregivers are significant in reducing violence against children.

“Spending more time with parents or family and having a stronger relationship within the family were also the primary themes highlighted by children when asked what they had enjoyed the most about this time (during the COVID-19 pandemic),” they said.

Muyot called on parents, caregivers, and local government leaders to strengthen the collective efforts to uphold children’s right to protection from all forms of physical or mental violence in times of crisis.

 
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