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About 400 million children under the age of five suffer violence at home: UNICEF

Children experiencing abuse at home can suffer negative impacts on their self-esteem and overall development.

As per recent data from UNICEF, an alarming 400 million children under the age of five, which is equivalent to six out of every ten children in this age group globally, are regularly subjected to psychological aggression or physical punishment in their homes. Approximately 330 million children among these are disciplined through physical means.

These findings highlight the importance of play in children’s development and mental well-being, as well as the need for better caregiving, including stimulation and interaction at home.

UNICEF
Image Source: the United Nations

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell emphasizes that children experiencing abuse at home can suffer negative impacts on their self-esteem and overall development. She suggests that a nurturing and playful approach to parenting can bring happiness and help children feel secure, learn, acquire skills, and understand their surroundings.

Impact of Evidence-Based Parenting Programs

While many countries are banning physical punishment against children in domestic settings, nearly half a billion children under five still lack sufficient legal protection.

The data also points to lingering societal norms that support violent methods of child-rearing, with just over one in four mothers and primary caregivers believing that physical punishment is essential for proper child-rearing and education.

Furthermore, the data highlights disparities in caregiving practices and access to play opportunities. For example, almost four in ten children aged between two and four years do not receive adequate responsive interaction or stimulation at home, which can lead to emotional neglect, insecurity, and behavioral problems.

Research shows that evidence-based parenting programs can enhance caregiving, decrease family violence and maltreatment, and improve the mental health of children and parents. UNICEF urges governments to intensify efforts and investments in protection, parenting support, and playful learning to ensure that every child grows up in a safe and nurturing environment.

UNICEF recommends enhancing legal and policy frameworks that forbid and eliminate all forms of violence against children in the home, expanding evidence-based parenting programs, and increasing access to learning and play spaces for children, including preschools, schools, and playgrounds.

According to UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, it is imperative to unite and recommit to eradicating violence against children and promoting positive, nurturing, and playful caregiving.

You might also be interested in – 1 in 4 children under 5 faces ‘severe’ food poverty: UNICEF

Dr. Shubhangi Jha

Avid reader, infrequent writer, evolving

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