Although violence against children is seen as a growing problem, nearly four in five (79%) express optimism that violence against children can be significantly reduced and eventually eliminated if people work together to prevent it and raise awareness about it.
Yet, while respondents seem to recognize the problem of violence against children and are optimistic that it can be solved, the survey data suggests that the issue is misunderstood by the public in at least one critical respect. When asked where children are most at risk of violence against children, over three in five (61%) believe that children are at the greatest risk in public places outside the home (48%) and public transportation (12%), while 51% consider children to be least at risk of violence in their homes. However, according to World Vision, and studies conducted by other leading agencies , violence against children is more common inside than outside the home.
The survey included questions about specific forms of violence against children. The results show that sexual violence, such as forced prostitution or pornography (92% very harmful), forced intercourse (91%) and luring children online for sex (90%) are seen as the most harmful forms of violence against children. While harmful, sexual violence is not seen as the most common form of violence against children (with 38%, on average, describing sexual forms of violence as very common). The most common form of violence is said to be physical punishment (55% very common), gang violence (50%) and physical abuse (49%). Ultimately, nearly four in five respondents (79%) believes that most violence against children goes unreported, making it hard for anyone to know the full extent of the problem.
Three quarters of people think internal factors and individual experiences, such as a lack of knowledge about violence against children (75%), a history of past abuse (75%) and substance abuse (75%) are the most common causes of violence against children. External factors such as poverty (61%), cultural practices (45%), organised crime (57%), terrorism (31%) and abuse by armed forces (24%) are less often seen as causes of violence against children.
These are the among the findings of Fearing Wrong, a study that consisted of a 15 to 20 minute survey among 11,331 individuals in 28 different countries worldwide, offered in 12 different languages, and conducted between July and August, 2014. In most countries the survey was conducted online. In Lebanon, Pakistan, El Salvador, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bangladesh, where large and diverse online samples were not available, the survey was administered in-person.
For more findings from the study, visit http://fearingwrong.wvi.org to download the full report.
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