Child abuse in East Asia-Pacific prevalent: UNICEF
Updated : 08/08/2012 13:06 GMT + 7
Child maltreatment is prevalent in East Asia and the Pacific regions, according to the latest report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to be launched today in Bangkok.
Entitled “Child Maltreatment: Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences in East Asia and Pacific”, the report confirmed that the worst scenario is that some 30.3 percent of children in the region are suffering physical and mental abuse.
Meanwhile, the best case suggests 1 in 10 children experience physical abuse, according to the report, which is the first-ever comprehensive analysis of existing studies undertaken by experts and academics about child maltreatment in the region between 2000 and 2010.
It cites that the prevalence of severe physical abuse ranges from nine percent to nearly one in four children in the region. Severe physical abuse includes beatings, particularly those inflicted by fists or implements, which result in physical injury.
Among other findings, the UNICEF review reveals that between 14 percent and 30 percent of the region’s boys and girls report experiencing forced sex, and for many young people their first experience of sexual intercourse is forced.
The East Asia–Pacific region, which is home to 580 million children, or over one quarter of the world’s children, includes some of the most densely populated and culturally diverse places in the world.
“Child maltreatment has harmful long-term consequences, not only for the children suffering the abuse, but also for the families and societies in which they live,” explained Amalee McCoy, UNICEF Regional Child Protection Specialist. “Understanding the prevalence of child maltreatment is a first step towards identifying the right measures to make every child in the region safer.”
The damage to children caused by sexual and physical abuse is often very serious and lifelong. Children who are abused, neglected, exploited or experience violence are more likely to become depressed and experience other types of mental health problems, to think about or attempt suicide, and to have more physical symptoms.