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Ending violence against children grossly underfunded within the framework of international cooperation

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At a glance…
  • Counting Pennies report shows a small fraction of official development assistance supports ending violence against children
  • Report is a joint venture between multiple civil-society organizations, including ChildFund Alliance of which Christian Children’s Fund of Canada is a member

Ending violence against children grossly underfunded within the framework of international cooperation

New report shows only a small fraction of official development assistance goes toward ending violence against children

Women Counting Pennies

NEW YORK (May 24, 2017) — For the first time, a review of official development assistance (ODA) to end violence against children has been completed. The report, Counting Pennies, found that in 2015 total ODA spending was $174 billion and of that less than 0.6 percent was allocated to ending violence against children.

“While commending states’ commitment to end violence against children, it is deeply worrying that less than US$1.1 billion of ODA is estimated to be spent addressing this critical human-rights concern,” says Marta Santos Pais, special representative of the United Nations secretary-general on violence against children.

Violence compromises children’s development, health and education and has a high cost to society — up to US$7 trillion a year, worldwide. So the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development now includes a distinct global target to end all forms of violence against children (target 16.2). Ending the abuse, neglect and exploitation of children is also mainstreamed across other parts of this international development agenda.

Children’s lives are at stake, and the serious consequences of violence can last a lifetime,” Santos Pais adds.While governments’ policy priorities may have competing demands on scarce resources, the social and financial costs of inaction are too high.”

Civil society partners that collaborated on this report were World Vision International, SOS Children’s Villages, Save the Children and ChildFund Alliance (of which Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a member). The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children and UNICEF also contributed to the research.

“Through this report we learned and are very supportive of the fact that Canada is the largest single provider of official development assistance to end violence against children,” says Patrick Canagasingham, CEO of CCFC. “Canada is also a leading proponent of child-protection initiatives, which are focused on violence prevention. CCFC applauds Canada’s leadership in developing mechanisms to track the effectiveness of spending on violence prevention. Canada’s use of a child-issues policy marker shows spending on ending violence against children can be measured. We support efforts to track spending and wholeheartedly support expanding procedures for identifying projects which have an impact on violence against children.”

Trihadi Saptoadi, vice-chair, Executive Committee for Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and World Vision Global Leader for Impact and Engagement adds: “Violence against children undermines all aid and development activities. Partnerships, like the one backing this report, are vital in addressing an issue of this magnitude. An end to violence against children is within reach, and we will see the greatest impact by working together.”

The report also found that half of all ODA to end violence against children goes to two geographic regions: Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Countries affected by conflict and displacement, such as Iraq, Syria and South Sudan, receive the bulk of these investments. Yet, funding to address violence against children in these areas is still lacking.

The study recommends donors improve tracking of spending to determine how international development assistance is contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development targets to end violence against children. The report also calls for further research into the amount of domestic resources invested by recipient governments.

“The world’s agreed priority to ending violence against children needs to be matched by increased ODA investment and by tracking spending on preventing and addressing violence against children,” says Santos Pais. “This must happen through official development assistance and through the mobilization of domestic resources.”

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About ChildFund International:

ChildFund International is a global child development and protection organization serving more than 19-million children and family members in 29 countries. For more than 75 years, ChildFund International has helped the world’s deprived, excluded and vulnerable children survive and thrive to reach their full potential and become leaders of enduring change. As a member of ChildFund Alliance, ChildFund International builds supportive environments where all children can be safe, healthy and educated. Most of our funding comes from individual sponsors who contribute monthly towards the well-being of a particular child. For more information, visit


Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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