Giving Compass' Take:

• "Unseen and Unsafe" finds that children in the Pacific are exposed to violence at high rates, an issue which is not being adequately addressed by the international community. 

• How can funders work to protect children in the Pacific? Where can your dollars make an impact? 

• Read about why gender-based violence is your business

Released at the United Nations High-level Political Forum in New York, the ’Unseen and Unsafe: Underinvestment in Ending Violence Against Children in the Pacific and Timor-Leste’ report shows that over 70 percent or 4 million children across eight countries experience violent discipline at home, including a staggering 2.8 million (75 percent of the child population) in Papua New Guinea.

The report finds there have also been inadequate levels of funding and policy measures to address the epidemic. Just $1.1 million or 0.1 percent of all Australian foreign aid to the Pacific and Timor-Leste in 2017 was directed to programs specifically addressing violence against children. Only $3.4 million was spent in total by all foreign donors on this critical issue.

Children who face violence and abuse often suffer from serious physical injuries, unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, mental trauma, and even death.

Physically, children are also more susceptible to injury than adults as their bodies are still developing. Violence can lead to stunted brain development which affects their concentration, language development and ability to read and write.

The research, conducted by Save the Children, World Vision, Plan International and ChildFund, also demonstrates:

  • 1 in 4 adolescent girls experienced physical violence, and 1 in 10 sexual violence;
  • In Papua New Guinea, more than half of all sexual violence cases referred to medical clinics in Port Moresby and Tari were against children; and
  • In Papua New Guinea, 27 per cent of parents or carers reported beating their children “over and over as hard as they could”.

Read the full article about violence against children in the Pacific at Save the Children.