Save the Children Canada

Save the Children Canada

November 20, 2006 06:00 ET

National Child Day: “In Their Own Words"

Canadian Children Speak Out to Stop Violence in their Lives

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor TORONTO, ON, NEWS RELEASE--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 20, 2006) - Violence against children is a daily occurrence for millions of children in every region of the world. As Canadians mark National Child Day (a commemoration of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) youth across Canada are speaking out against the pervasive threat of violence that denies them their basic rights.

Their voices have been captured in a new report released today by Save the Children Canada, UNICEF Canada, the Children's Rights Centre of Cape Breton University and the Canadian Council of Provincial Child and Youth Advocates. The report, "Seen, Heard and Believed: What Youth Say about Violence" and its companion, "Youth and Children Condemn Violence in Society" is a wake-up call about the violence that children in Canada experience first-hand.

Ethan, a contributor to the reports (aged 15): "Emotional violence does hurt. It is not the same as physical violence of course. Physical violence happens fast. Emotional violence takes longer. Both scar you and stay with you… I think there always will be violence but we need to keep on reminding people how much violence hurts."

As is evident in the reports, children can easily articulate solutions to reduce the impact of violence. Presented is a compelling case for a call upon elected representatives to allocate more funding towards parental education programs, the development of child- friendly communities, support for child-led initiatives and projects, and child rights training programs in schools and institutions. Investments in programs such as these have proven to be effective in reducing community and family violence and empowering children themselves to affect change.

"I feel that everyone has a duty to protect children from violence and this responsibility must be upheld and honoured by our Canadian government, families, communities, police force, the media and most importantly the young people themselves!" Chelsea, a university student in Ottawa (aged 19).

"It is important that we no longer view children only as victims of violence but as active participants in finding real solutions to end violence", states David Morley, Save the Children Canada President and CEO.

All contributing organizations to the report are advocating for the right of children and youth to participate. A federal mechanism, such as a Children's Commissioner, is needed to ensure that children are protected and more directly involved in shaping and monitoring the systems put in place to protect them from violence.

"The children we have listened to give us hope," says Nigel Fisher, President & CEO of UNICEF Canada. "They want the cycle of violence to end and they are full of good ideas about how that could happen. Ideas so good that we should respect what they say they want most - to be listened to."

Keysha, aged 18, recently attended the October 2006 launch of the UN Study as a member of the Canadian government's delegation. "Violence needs to end. In order for that to happen we need to hear from children and youth because violence is happening to them and we are the best people to tell you."

Save the Children Canada has been working for over 85 years to improve the quality of children's lives through the realization of their rights. UNICEF is the world's leader for children, working in 156 countries and territories to save, protect and enhance the lives of girls and boys. The Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates is an alliance of Canada's five provincially-appointed children's advocates and works to ensure that children and youth are treated with dignity, tolerance, respect and equality. The Children's Rights Centre of Cape Breton University was founded in 1995 to undertake research, student training, and education in children's rights. The Centre's primary focus has been on the development and evaluation of children's rights educational materials.

Note to Editor:
The following youth are available for interviews on their work to reduce violence in the world around them:

Keysha (18), Toronto: Keysha has been involved with the Summer of Opportunities Leadership Programme where she has been an active participant in focus groups and conferences relating to violence against children. Keysha has a personal interest in the art of story pictures - a technique to help children who have experienced violence.

Ethan (15), Vancouver: Ethan participated in the Study on violence as a member of the focus groups and contributor to the "Seen, Heard and Believed" report. He met with children in the community to solicit their input through drawings and art for the report. Ethan is from Toronto.

Fathia (18), Toronto: Fathia participated in the international launch of the UN Study in October 2006. She was a member of her high school's Culture of Peace Committee, White Ribbon Campaign, Tsunami Relief Campaign and the Foster a Child Campaign. She was a participant at the Study's Regional Consultation, and has been involved in media activities through various websites and fundraising initiatives.

Chelsea (19), Ottawa: Chelsea participated in the Consultations for the UN Study. Chelsea created a Charter for young people in her community. She is now in 2nd year at Carleton Univ. studying a double major in Human Rights and International Law.

For interviews with the youth or any of the report contributors please contact:
Sue Rooks
Communications Coordinator
Save the Children Canada
/For further information: www.savethechildren.ca/ IN: EDUCATION, JUSTICE, POLITICS, SOCIAL

Contact Information

  • Sue Rooks, Communications Coordinator, Save the Children Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-221-5501 ext. 305
    Secondary Phone: 416-346-1310
    Toll-Free: 800-668-5036
    E-mail: srooks@savethechildren.ca