World Vision, a non-governmental agency, says 1 billion children, who are already exposed to violence, are at risk and the number likely to grow by 85 million as a result of systems and services restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“As coronavirus sweeps through nations, millions of people have found refuge by isolating in their homes.
“Unfortunately, home is not a safe space for everyone. Schools and community centres can no longer protect vulnerable children in the way they would usually.
“As a result, our report shows that in numerous countries World Vision has seen reported incidents of child abuse and violence spike since the lockdown measures were imposed.
“For example, in Bangladesh, April’s national impact and needs assessment compiled by a range of stakeholders including World Vision revealed that beatings by parents or guardians had increased by 42%; that there was a 40% increase of calls to the child helpline; and that 50% of those interviewed said the safety and security of girls were issues in the lockdown,” said World Vision International Global Leader for Advocacy, Dana Buzducea.
In less than two weeks, two children have suffered various forms of abuse by their father, but World Visions says violence on children is likely to escalate.
Apart from the threat of child abuse, World Vision also predicts an increase in child marriage and child labour as financial difficulties take a toll on struggling families.
The non-governmental agency calls on world leaders to prioritise the world’s most vulnerable children and prevent the escalation of violence.