Some of the biggest victims of domestic violence are the smallest

New global report reveals impact of domestic violence on children

NEW YORK/LONDON, 1 August 2006 – A global study published today by UNICEF and The Body Shop International reveals the devastating and lasting impact on children of living with domestic violence.

Defining domestic violence as the physical, sexual or mental abuse of a parent or caregiver, the report finds that the experience of watching, hearing or otherwise being aware of domestic violence can impact children’s physical, emotional and social development, both during childhood and later in life.

In the vast majority of cases, domestic violence is perpetrated against women. At least one in three women globally has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way-most often by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member. Globally, one woman in four has been abused during pregnancy. The report turns attention to the lesser-known facts: the impact on children who are exposed to this violence.

Based on global data from the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children, the report conservatively estimates that as many as 275 million children are currently exposed to domestic violence. The fact that domestic violence is chronically underreported and that some countries have no data at all makes it difficult to quantify how many children it affects.

“Domestic violence can have a lasting negative impact on children,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said in New York. “It is critical that children grow up in safe and stable environments, free of violence.”

The Body Shop International is helping to take action against domestic violence by launching its 2006 Stop Violence in the Home Campaign, which focuses on children as the forgotten victims.

Dame Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop, added, “Our report shows that some of the biggest victims of domestic violence are the smallest. Protecting children should be the absolute concern of everybody who is working to see an end to domestic violence. We urge everyone to rally behind this global campaign.”

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