SOURCE: World Childhood Foundation

World Childhood Foundation

September 28, 2017 09:00 ET

Global Leaders, Including Queen Silvia of Sweden, Meet at the United Nations to Discuss Ending Violence Against Children

The World Childhood Foundation USA and Swedish Mission to the UN Convene High-Level Meeting to Share Report and Plan to End Sexual Violence Against Children

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Sep 28, 2017) - World Childhood Foundation USA ("Childhood USA"), a non-profit dedicated to ending sexual violence and exploitation against children, the Swedish Mission to the United Nations and in partnership with Know Violence in Childhood will host a high-level meeting with world leaders to discuss strategies to end violence against children -- one-third of the global population -- by 2030. The meeting will be held on October 2, 2017 at UN Headquarters.

The meeting, "Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for Children: Collective Actions and Innovative Solutions," will highlight the challenges facing children today and spur governments, academia, civil society and the private sector to join forces and scale up investments in solutions that target the well-being of children. The keynote address will be delivered by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden.

"Every child deserves to have a happy and healthy childhood," said Her Majesty, Queen Silvia of Sweden. "However, more than 200 million children worldwide are victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. It is imperative that we invest in programs and initiatives that work to eliminate sexual abuse and violence against children."

The meeting takes place on the 10th anniversary of the International No Violence Day, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. This year marks two years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that commit the world's leaders to ensure children's access to health and education, freedom from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation and leaving no child behind.

Today, the majority of the world's two billion children are exposed to violence. And of these children, more than 200 million are victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, which remains a hidden public health epidemic, and is one of the root causes of mental health and substance abuse problems later in life.

Know Violence in Childhood, an independent global learning initiative, will present key findings from its Global Report 2017 "Ending Violence in Childhood," which maps the scale of the problem and evidence-based solutions.

Key findings include:

  • Violence against children is preventable and universal. It occurs in all countries, rich or poor.
  • Childhood violence inhibits the formation of capabilities and imposes substantial human costs. The financial costs are estimated to be about US $7 trillion.
  • Violence in childhood is inextricably linked to violence against women.

While the magnitude of the problem is great, experience from across the world demonstrates that violence in childhood can be prevented.
Solutions include:

  • Enhance individual capabilities -- educate parents and other caregivers on the effects of violence and available resources to help; empower children to think for themselves and act in their own interests.
  • Embed violence prevention in institutions and services -- stop institutional violence, such as bullying and teacher aggression toward children in schools, and provide counseling services to victims and perpetrators in health care settings.
  • Eliminate root causes of violence -- free communities from violence, particularly those controlled by criminal organizations and street gangs, and change social norms that may legitimize acts of violence, such as wife-beating.

In addition to the Know Violence in Childhood presentation, the meeting will explore how new global initiatives, such as the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, are succeeding in rallying governments to scale up their commitments to children and engaging the private sector and philanthropists in driving the development of new approaches and solutions to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs for children.

The meeting will also highlight the role of the work of NGOs and foundations and World Childhood Foundation-supported programs in the achievement of SDG 16.2 (end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children).

In addition to Queen Silvia, an avid advocate for children's rights, governments' representatives, UN leaders, civil society, academic and private sector leaders; and on-the-ground practitioners will attend.

The meeting will feature keynote addresses and two panel discussions moderated by CNN anchor Robyn Curnow.

"It is inspiring to see how the 2030 development agenda and the SDGs are engaging the government leaders, NGOs and the private sector in scaling up their efforts for the well-being of children. We see several global companies in the ICT sector, as well as the travel, construction and retail companies, putting children first by integrating child protection into their business practices," said Dr. Joanna Rubinstein, President and CEO of World Childhood Foundation USA.

Eliminating violence against children by 2030, the target year for the SDGs, is possible, but requires a collective effort on behalf of all the players: governments, the private sector, academia and nonprofits. Working together can help build a safe, just and equitable world for all children. Ending violence against children is possible and will not only alleviate suffering of children but also contribute to building a sustainable and peaceful future.

The meeting will be held in Conference Room 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UN Headquarters.

Following the UN meeting, Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine of Sweden, along with international leaders, New York notables, and celebrities will attend the annual Childhood USA Thank You Gala to address the hidden epidemic of child sexual abuse worldwide. During the gala, Childhood USA will honor leaders who have significantly furthered the cause of children's rights, including Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Melinda Gates (not attending), Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Monika Heimbold, Chair of The Heimbold Foundation and a co-founder of the WCF.

About World Childhood Foundation (WCF)
WCF envisions a world where all children are free from violence, sexual abuse, and exploitation. Founded in 1999 by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, WCF supports the development of solutions to prevent and address violence, defend children's rights, and promote better living conditions for children.

A United Nations accredited NGO, WCF raises awareness about child sexual abuse through programmatic support, global advocacy initiative #EyesWideOpen (co-founded by H.R.H. Princess Madeleine) and high-level meetings with government, academic, civil society, and private sector leaders. In 2016, the WCF served over 73,000 clients -- both directly and indirectly -- in the United States alone and launched the Stewards of Children Prevention Toolkit mobile app (http://www.socapp.org) in partnership with Darkness2Light and Ericsson. Childhood USA is a board member of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

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