Many children also mentioned an increase in child marriage in their communities, says the study
A recent study shows that a large number of children are facing increasing violence at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Act Now, a child consultation study conducted in 10 Asian countries, including Bangladesh, revealed that 44% of the participants (children) reported an increase in domestic violence.
Moreover, one in two children interviewed said there was an increase in child marriage in their communities. They also remarked that it was easier to keep child marriages a secret due to the lockdown enforced amid the pandemic.
Act Now, experiences and recommendations of girls and boys in the Asia Pacific region during Covid-19, is a compilation of survey data from children and youth between the ages of 11 and 19 across 10 Asian countries — Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Nepal, Myanmar, Laos, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand.
Over 100 child participants across East Asia convened with government officials to discuss several issues like these at World Vision’s Asia Pacific Child Well-Being Learning Exchange forum on Wednesday.
The virtual event, organized in partnership with Unicef East Asia and Pacific, was introduced to bring together government, UN agencies, donors, civil society organizations, corporates, academia, subject matter experts and thought leaders in the development sector, to shed light on pressing issues facing the world’s most vulnerable children and their well-being in the Asia Pacific region.
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Child leaders highlighted the increase in violence towards children, wide gaps in access to essential services, especially child protection, and appealed to Asian leaders to fulfil their commitment to making sure every child had every right, as per Convention on the Rights of the Child.
According to Unmasking Report, a compilation of the Covid-19 early recovery assessment findings and recommendations by World Vision, loss of livelihood during the pandemic has forced parents and caregivers to take desperate measures that are negatively impacting children’s well-being, including inflicting violence.
A recent rapid impact assessment report by World Vision Bangladesh showed that about 95% of households’ income in the country have been impacted; an estimated 78.3% households’ income decreased due to close of business/daily work.
Owing to social and economic disruptions caused by immediate effects of Covid-19, children, particularly those living in the most vulnerable rural and urban areas, were at increased risk of both physical and mental health challenges, it added.
In addition, a large proportion of girls said they felt more unsafe during lockdowns. The report indicated that 10% of caregivers were sending their children to work and 9% of the households were sending children out to beg or for high-risk jobs.
Some of the recommendations shared by children on child protection included providing social and educational assistance to school drop-outs and child labourers, providing skills training for teenagers from most vulnerable families, sensitizing affected families on the crippling effects of child abuse and encouraging children to become agents of child rights and protection.
The child representatives also expressed their strong desire to be part of their countries’ Covid-19 recovery decision-making processes to ensure that child well-being aspirations are met.
The children also urged governments, civil society and the private sector to take urgent action in addressing their concerns and scale up social protection interventions that were child-sensitive, gender-responsive and accountable.