UNICEF has released a film with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham which powerfully illustrates the impact that physical and psychological abuse can have on children. #ENDViolence against all forms of child abuse, in their homes, schools, online and in their communities, is the message communicated clearly in the 60-second film.
Children experiencing abuse appear in the style of animated tattoos across Beckham’s body among his own tattoos, chosen as marks that represent happy or important memories. Millions of children bear marks they have not chosen, and are left with long-lasting scars through violence and abuse. The tragic consequences of violence affect all aspects of a child’s life and can be passed down from one generation to the next. Violence against children carries serious costs to all societies in every region of the world.
Beckham said: “When I launched my 7 Fund with UNICEF, I made a commitment to do everything I can to make the world a safer place for children and to speak out on issues that are having a devastating impact on children’s lives. One of those issues is violence. Every five minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies from violence. Millions more are in danger of physical, emotional and sexual abuse that could destroy their childhoods forever.
Beckham invited youth to use messaging tool U-report to report issues affecting their lives by answering questions about violence against children. More than 190 000 “U-Reporters” from 22 countries responded. Two-thirds of them said that they had personally experienced physical or verbal abuse or knew somebody else who had. When asked who thought committed violence most often, one-third said police or law enforcement officials, 29% said their peers, 28% said a parent or caregiver and 9% said teachers.
Approximately 80 000 U-Reporters provided suggestions on what can be done to address violence in their communities. A 24-year-old U-Reporter from the Philippines said, “I will let my voice be heard and warn all people around me on what is happening, and ask for someone’s help to end it if I cannot do it alone.”
“Violence and abuse take a terrible toll on children’s lives and futures – harming their bodies, undermining their emotional wellbeing, even interfering with the healthy development of their brains,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “When we protect children from violence, we prevent individual tragedies – and promote stronger, more stable societies. Thanks to powerful advocates like David Beckham, and fuelled by the voices of children and young people themselves, we are building momentum for ending violence against children everywhere.”
Violence is not inevitable. UNICEF points to seven proven strategies that can help end violence against children. These include strengthening attitudes that support non-violence; enforcing laws; creating safe environments for
children; supporting parents and caregivers; increasing family incomes to reduce poverty; strengthening social services and equipping children with life-skills.
Beckham and UNICEF are urging people to share the new film on social media platforms.