UN urges Australia to lead efforts against child violence in Pacific

UN urges Australia to lead in efforts against child violence in Pacific
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Aid organizations are pointing fingers at Australia and other donors with its “dramatic underinvestment” in tackling ‘shockingly high’ levels of child violence in the Pacific.

A new report found that children in the Pacific region are subject to “endemic” levels of violence. The report showed that more than 70% of children suffer from violence in the guise of extreme discipline.

A report delivered to the United Nations shows more than 70 percent of children in eight Pacific nations face violence at home, in the guise of extreme discipline.

Australia’s closest neighboring countries, Papua New Guinea and East Timor or Timor-Leste have the highest number of children suffering from violence. According to the report, three-quarters of children have experienced abusive punishment in these areas.

In Papua New Guinea, 4 million children experience violent disciplinary practices where 27% of parents or caregivers use this “over and over as hard as they could”.

The report published on Tuesday is titled “Unseen, Unsafe” and is authored by Kavitha Kavitha Suthanthiraraj from Save the Children Australia.

“The levels of physical, sexual and emotional violence in the region are shockingly high and it is something that we all need to come together to work around because that level of scale of violence is going to have long-term detrimental impacts for children,” Suthanthiraraj said.

“It’s not talking about the normal kind of disciplining tactics that people might use, it’s more heavy-handed physical and/or humiliating punishment,” he added.

“As the largest aid donor to the Pacific, Australia must lead by example and continue working closely with Pacific governments on this.”

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