UNICEF HAS issued a stark warning that hundreds of millions of children around the world are likely to face increasing threats to their safety and wellbeing following actions to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leading officials at the United Nations children’s agency say that children will face an increased risk of mistreatment, including gender-based violence, exploitation, social exclusion and separation from caregivers.
According to UNICEF, Quarantine efforts such as school closures and movement restrictions, while considered necessary, are disrupting children’s routines and support systems. They are also adding new stressors on caregivers who may have to forgo work.
It says that control measures that do not account for the gender-specific needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls may also increase their risk of sexual exploitation, abuse and child marriage.
Recent anecdotal evidence from China, for instance, points to a significant rise in cases of domestic violence against women and girls.