Washington, DC, 25 September 2017 (PAHO/WHO) - One of the most important works to reduce violence against children and adolescents presented at the Sexual Violence Research Initiative Forum 2017, which takes place in the city of Rio de Janeiro until the 21st, is a technical package called INSPIRE.
"There are seven strategies, based on the best available scientific evidence, for everyone committed to preventing and responding to this problem: from government to grassroots, and from civil society to the private sector," explained Alessandra Guedes, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) regional advisor for family violence.
One of the strategies seeks to ensure the implementation and enforcement of laws to prevent violent behavior, reduce excessive alcohol use, and limit youth access to firearms and other weapons. The second one is to strengthen norms and values that support non-violent, nurturing, positive and gender equitable relationships.
The third one is to create and sustain safe streets and other environments where children and youth gather and spend time. The fourth strategy focuses on reducing harsh parenting practices and create positive between parents and children. It includes, among other results, the reduction bullying and being bullied.
In addition, improving families' economic security and stability is also an essential strategy to reduce intimate partner violence and child maltreatment. It involves approaches such as making cash transfers to families in combination with parent training and/or or condition that they ensure their children attend school; or providing microfinance in combination with education for men and women on gender norms, domestic violence and sexuality.
Another key initiative is to improve access to good-quality health, social welfare and criminal justice support services for all children who need them - including for reporting violence - to reduce the long-term impact of violence (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety).
INSPIRE's seventh strategy seeks to increase children's access to more effective, gender-equitable education, socio-emotional learning and life-skills training, and ensure that school environments are safe and enabling. One of the expected outcomes is improving children's knowledge about how to protect themselves from sexual abuse.
Alessandra Guedes said that the implementation of this technical package is already underway in some countries, such as Uganda. "With these strategies, we want to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals related to the elimination of all forms of violence against women, children and adolescents."
Violence against children and adolescents includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. Over the course of their childhood, one in four children suffers physical abuse, and almost one in five girls and one in 13 boys suffer sexual abuse. In addition to that, homicide is one of the top five causes of death in adolescents.
Ten agencies with a long history of galvanizing a consistent, evidence-based approach to preventing violence against children have collaborated to develop INSPIRE. These institutions stand together and urge countries and communities to intensify their efforts to prevent and address violence against children by implementing the strategies in this package.
In addition to PAHO/WHO and the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, Together for Girls, United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank.