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Three Quarters of Young Children Are Subjected to Violence

The numbers, although alarming, are likely far higher.

A report published on Tuesday by UNICEF found that around 75 percent of the world’s children aged two to four have experienced some kind of mental or physical violence in their home. That’s 300 million children all across the world who are subject to a range of violence, from physical to sexual abuse to psychological.

The numbers become more troubling: nearly two-thirds of children around age one are “regularly” physically abused or corporally punished. Twenty-four percent of those are physically shaken as punishment and another ten are hit or beaten. In the countries that reported instances of violence — and we know that these numbers are often way lower than the actual instances of violence because of abnormalities in reporting across the world — 90 percent of girls who had been sexually assaulted knew their assailant. The same is true for young boys: People they knew were the most likely to inflict abuse upon them. 

Per the UNICEF report, African-American and other children of color in the United States were nearly 20 times more likely to be murdered than their non-Hispanic and white counterparts. Additionally, 75 percent of school shootings have taken place in the United States since 1992. In Latin America, homicide against children has increased, and almost half of all murders of children occur in the region.

UNICEF also reported that almost half of school-aged children across the world (that’s near 750 million) live in countries where physical punishment in the school system is still legal. The problem is pervasive: even in countries where it’s not legally allowed, abuse still seems to occur among people who kids should be able to trust. Coupled with the issue of chronic underreporting, this means that these numbers are likely far more devastating.