The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is supporting governments and partner organisations to maintain and adapt critical prevention and response services for children affected by violence during COVID-19.
This follows UNICEF’s Socio-economic Impact Survey of COVID-19 Response which shows that violence prevention and response services have been severely disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving children at increased risk of violence, exploitation and abuse.
According to the survey, as countries adopted prevention and control measures to contain COVID-19, many vital violence prevention and response services were suspended or interrupted as a result, including violence prevention programmes, children’s access to child welfare authorities, and national helpline services.
For example, UNICEF says that children around Uganda will likely face increasing threats to their safety and well-being – including mistreatment, gender-based violence, exploitation, social exclusion and separation from caregivers – because of actions taken to contain the disease, while many are missing out on life-saving vaccines and medication.
In some countries, UNICEF has provided personal hygiene items including masks, hand sanitizers and eye protectors for social service workers to safely support children living on the streets, in slums, and in climate-affected and hard-to-reach areas.
Picture credit: UNICEF