Protecting children
from violence

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Right now, millions of children are in danger

On city streets, in communities, schools and homes, children are attacked, abused, exploited and killed.

  • Every five minutes a child dies as a result of violence
  • Children who are victims of violence have brain activity similar to soldiers exposed to combat
  • A third of children who are victims of violence are likely to develop long-lasting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

This is Mohammad

He is 15 years old. He was forced to flee his home in Syria because of violence. Now living in the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan, where he attends a Unicef-supported school, he is calling on world leaders to end violence.

He asks them: “Where were you when the planes came and bombs fell, and there was crying and screaming and people dying and injured. Where are you now when we are safe, but living with no hope in sight?”

With other child survivors from 17 countries around the world, Mohammed has written a letter to world leaders. Their words tell a powerful story of the danger children are facing in every corner of the world, which is too often unseen and cloaked in silence.

Mohammad is 15 years old. He was forced to flee his home in Syria because of violence.
Where were you when the planes came and bombs fell, and there was crying and screaming and people dying and injured. Where are you now when we are safe, but living with no hope in sight?
Mohammed, 15, from Syria

Read our report on violence against children

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Keeping children safe

Unicef helps protect children by setting up services to help them and their families, and by working with governments to make sure national child protection systems are effective and with communities to change attitudes towards violence so it’s considered unacceptable.

But more needs to be done to keep children safe.

Our campaign to end violence

On 25 September 2015 world leaders adopted new Global Goals that will shape the lives of millions of children. The goals, which set out the world’s priorities for the next 15 years, include for the first time ever a target to end violence against children.

This target was a key demand of our End Violence campaign, which launched in October 2014. Supported by over 50,000 Unicef campaigners, the target means every government across the world has committed to keeping children safe. Never before has the whole world come together to take a collective stand to protect children from violence.

We’re also calling on the UK Government to play a leading role in a new global partnership to end violence against children, bringing together countries from around the world to keep every child safe.

Children laugh during a Unicef-supported recreation activity at a shelter for displaced families in Homs, capital of Homs Governorate. The activity is part of psychosocial services to help children recover from trauma caused by the conflict. Unicef/2014

Syrian children take part in games as part of a Unicef-supported psychosocial programme which helps them to recover from the trauma caused by the conflict. Unicef/2014