One billion children experience violence every year. The costs are immense: the consequences of physical, psychological and sexual violence against children could cost the global economy as much as a staggering $7 trillion in lost productivity.
The field of preventing violence against children remains fragmentary and woefully underfunded. But in the last 15 years, growing interest in the causes, costs and solutions of such violence has made for a dizzying landscape of research to grapple with.
So Apolitical has created a list of the seven essential books and reports for anyone who wants to understand the current state of the problem, and how to prevent it. We hope you’ll find it helpful. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below, or tell us more about them on Twitter.
INSPIRE Technical Package (2016 & 2018)
World Health Organisation, UNICEF, CDC, et al.
The INSPIRE core document is the most comprehensive resource of evidence-based interventions to prevent violence against children. It outlines seven strategies proven to reduce the problem, and provides extensive material on why cross-cutting, multisectoral cooperation is vital. The two most recent additions to the trilogy cover the essentials of how to implement the strategies listed in the core document, and how to measure and evaluate their impact.
Ending Violence in Childhood: Global Report (2017)
Know Violence in Childhood: A Global Learning Initiative
Any attempt to end violence against children should be based on a concrete understanding of what drives violence, how many children it affects, and what the consequences of violence in childhood can be. The Global Report condenses a vast body of learning produced by the Know Violence initiative, a global consortium of researchers and practitioners with an unparalleled understanding of the field.
The costs and economic impact of violence against children (2014)
Overseas Development Institute & The Childfund Alliance
Preventing violence against children isn’t just a moral imperative — it makes economic sense. The global cost of the consequences of violence in the early years, thanks to working days and life years lost, could total up to $7trillion according to this comprehensive report by the Overseas Development Institute and the Childfund alliance. The report is an invaluable resources in making the case for increased funding for both research and implementation in a woefully cash-strapped field.
World Report on Violence Against Children (2006)
World Health Organisation, UNICEF
Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro’s 2006 report is a landmark in the field: comprehensive, detailed and lengthy, the 2006 WHO report was a crucial lever in drawing international attention to violence against children, and a seminal intervention in child protection worldwide. Though over a decade old, Pinheiro’s research remains relevant for policymakers globally.
A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents (2017)
A Familiar Face breaks down the multiplicity of types of violence experienced by children, from sexual abuse to corporal punishment. This granular insight into a global phenomenon is invaluable for demonstrating not only the scale of violence in childhood, but the countless ways in which it is either normalised or rendered invisible. The data visualisations are rigorous and informative, and provide vital new ways of picturing the global crisis.
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Technical Package (2016)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC’s Technical Package provides a systematic overview of prevention programs, and the evidence — or lack thereof — on their impact. This 2016 document provides both a sense of the scale of the problem, and promising ways to combat it with all the rigour of the CDC’s extensive team of researchers and policy specialists. And at just over 50 pages, it offers a brisk but detailed dive into the literature.
School Violence and Bullying: Global Status Report (2017)
Not all violence against children is perpetrated by adults. Peer violence and bullying remain staggeringly common. An estimated 246 million children and adolescents experience school violence and bullying every year — and the rise of social media and instant messaging are expanding the impact of bullying beyond the school gates. This report provides a detailed analysis of the phenomenon, and promising paths to make schools safer.
(Picture credit: Flickr/Sue Kellerman)