Parenting Programmes to Prevent Abuse and Neglect in Children
There are many children around the globe who faces emotional isolation from their homes. They lead lonely life and are burdened with grief and sadness. Such children are insulted and often caned and isolated and become scapegoats for all the misfortunes. Such stories are not unique. Globally, about half of the world’s children, around 1 billion children and adolescents aged 2 to 17 years, experience physical, emotional or sexual violence every year. Three-quarters of young children aged 2 to 4 years, experience violent discipline on a regular basis. Children with developmental delays or disabilities are at particular risk of parental abuse and neglect. Child trauma does not just occur in chaotic or violent homes. Children are biologically programmed to seek a deep connection with the parent and when there is an absence of love and care they feel unsafe. Their brains are unable to deal with such distress and it derails their mental and physical development. A strong parental attachment is the single most important protective factor in the lives of children.
Evidence shows that parenting programmes are the most impactful way of preventing abuse and neglect. A minimum package of evidence-based and low-cost parenting interventions, or ‘parenting vaccines’, can be delivered through home visits in early childhood with boosters through childhood and adolescence. UNICEF will join with WHO and the UN Special Representative on Violence Against Children to call on all UN Member States to scale up a minimum package of parenting programmes that are adaptable to the local context. They will also be joined by the Governments of Japan and Jamaica and Nadine Burke Harris, one of the world’s most prominent advocates on child protection.