Posted By: • April 6th, 2017

Millions of children are still beaten, tortured, and sentenced to death around the world despite increased attention to violence against under-18s according to a group of leading children’s rights organisations.

A new study on violence against children has found that countries have increasingly banned corporal punishment and abandoned life imprisonment for children over the last decade, but under-18s still face dangers from child marriage, honour killings, new forms of sexual violence, and more children are facing the death penalty than ten years ago.

The new report, Global progress & delay in ending violence against children, tracks ten years of change since the first UN Study on Violence Against Children was published in 2006. The study includes contributions from the UN’s Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore, the original study’s main author and current Chairperson of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, and several Special Representatives of the Secretary-General who deal with children’s rights.

As well as physical punishment, execution and infanticide the report covers gang violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation in its examination of violence against children. Data included in the report shows that while the prevalence of many forms of violence has fallen the world’s increasing population has led to more children experiencing violence overall.

The UN’s first violence study set 2009 as a deadline to legally prohibit many of these harmful practices, but there is still much to be done before these goals are met in reality. Despite the seemingly slow progress to date the Sustainable Development Goals have set the target of ending all violence against children by 2030, a global partnership has been formed to fulfil this goal and the UN is soon to launch a global study on children deprived of liberty, representing an unprecedented level of support for ending violence against children.

In the ten years since the Study was published, great strides have been made in learning about the violence that affects children around the world, along with great advances in combating some of those forms of violence. Yet for many children, violence is an ever present fact of life.

The number of countries that have legally prohibited all forms of corporal punishment of children has tripled since the Study was published, yet an estimated one billion children still experience physical violence in the home on a regular basis.

Perhaps worse still, many of the most severe forms of violence children experience remain legal, whether in the 14 States that still allow the death penalty for children, the 22 countries that still legally permit certain forms of female genital mutilation, or the 93 that allow girls to marry before the age of 18.

The report itself was prepared by the International NGO Council on Violence Against Children, a group of leading international and national children’s rights organisations formed in 2007 and tasked with following up on the recommendations of the original study.

Click here to download the full report – 10 years on: Global progress and delay in ending violence against children – the rhetoric & the reality.


The International NGO Council on Violence Against Children is composed of 19 members – ten members representing international NGOs, and nine members (selected at regional level) representing national and regional NGOs. These include:

Child Rights International Network

Defence for Children International

ECPAT International

Global Initiative to End all Corporal Punishment of Children

Human Rights Watch

International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN)

Plan International

Save the Children

World Organisation Against Torture

World Vision International

Previous reports published by the International NGO Council on Violence Against Children can be found below.

Five Years On: A global update on violence against children, 2011

Violating children’s rights: Harmful practices based on tradition, culture, religion or superstition, 2012

Creating a non-violent juvenile justice system, 2013

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