Violence against Children in East Asia and Pacific Region: A regional overview

Summary: The report is a summary based on UNICEF’s
Regional Assessment of Violence Against
Children in East Asia and the Pacific Desk
Review presented at the East Asia and Pacific
Regional Consultation on Violence against
Children taking place in Bangkok from 14 to 16
June 2005.
Regional overview presented by Sawon Hong, 14 June 2005, Bangkok,

As author of the regional report, Sawon Hong, presented a general picture
of the situation of violence against children in the East Asia and Pacific
region. The findings were based on regional assessments from existing
research gathered from government agencies, academia and NGOs, and
others. She emphasised that country comparisons cannot be considered
as comprehensive, but hopefully with the study, this would be realised in
the future.

Key facts for the region

There are 1.9 billion people in East Asia and Pacific, including 600 million
children, some countries are very large, others very small, some wealthy,
others poor. The region has linguistic, religious, and cultural diversitities,
and there are diverse political systems.

Common patterns from review :

- violence that occurs in the home and family: this type of violence
is often a root cause of violence in other sectors;

- physical and psychological violence occurs everywhere,
examples of violence perpetrated against domestic workers, and corporal
punishment, which is accepted and in some cases, encouraged, remains
legal in all countries;

- the perpetrators: most violence is perpetrated by those who are
responsible for the care and protection of children, state actors (in police
custody for instance), and children themselves, such as bullying;

- gender difference; boys are more often physically assaulted, but
girls are more often sexually assaulted than boys

Two main causes:

- vulnerability of children: Children are not vulnerable, but are
made vulnerable by factors such as hierarchical traditions, socio economic
and political forces

- inadequate protection mechanisms: owing to weakness of
legislative and justice systems, lack of knowledge, political cultural
sensitivities and lack of social support groups

Some Signs of progress :

- openness and willingness to engage in dialogue
- legal support for the issue of violence against children
- data collection systems, and evidence-based and child focused research
have improved
- cooperation of civil society, INGOs, NGOs and national governments
- transition from institutional approaches to alternative care methods
- most countries have set minimum age for employment in accordance with
international mechanisms
- child participation has increased

Challenges remain:

- ending the silence, increase advocacy
- strengthen legal mechanisms, prohibit all violence
- improve programme responses
- still need to build better data collection systems and analysis, including
- addressing vulnerability of marginalised children
- anticipating emerging issues
- encouraging participation and partnership


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