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A Double-Edged Sword: Protection Risks Facing Venezuelan Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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VENEZUELAN CHILDREN FACE GAUNTLET OF RISKS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC, NEW REPORT SAYS

 Child marriage, child labour, gender-based violence have increased during the pandemic

 World Vision’s 7-country response has reached more than 411,000 people

 Findings indicate a need to focus on protecting rights, seeking long-term solutions

Child marriage, child labour and gender-based violence have increased in Venezuela since the global COVID-19-induced lockdowns began in March, a recent World Vision study found. A survey of 420 households in August in Capital District and Miranda state reveals troubling trends among Venezuelan families, specifically for children and adolescents.

The new report, “A Double-Edged Sword,” spotlights the rising protection risks facing Venezuelan children during the COVID-19 pandemic and calls on governments, donors, NGOs and other stakeholders to take action now to help prevent further disaster for the children of Venezuela.

"As if the economic crisis wasn't challenging enough, the COVID-19 pandemic has created seemingly insurmountable obstacles for millions of children and young people in Venezuela," said Fabiano Franz, Director of World Vision's Venezuela Crisis Response. "If donors, governments, and humanitarian agencies don't take action now, we may lose an entire generation to this crisis."

The report sheds new light on just how harsh life in Venezuela has become since the pandemic turned a dire situation desperate for millions of people. Here are some of the report’s key findings: • Seven in 10 people said they do not have enough food at home

• One in five report children newly separated from their parents during the pandemic

• Almost 50% report increased child marriage

• 19% indicate more frequent gender-based violence

• 20% of surveyed households say child labour has increased since March 

The situation for many families in Venezuela has become a matter of life and death during this horrific confluence of economic and health crises.

Since January 2019, World Vision has reached more than 411,000 people caught up in the Venezuela crisis in seven countries. Our work centers on protecting children and assisting their families through food-security, nutrition, livelihoods, WASH, health, and other programs throughout the region. On Nov. 2, World Vision is co-hosting a virtual side-event at the United Nations General Assembly with Plan International. The event will feature a panel of young Venezuelans who will share their experiences during the crisis.

The Double-Edged Sword report and UNGA event serve as an urgent call on world leaders, donors, NGOs and other stakeholders to take action now to prevent an entire generation of Venezuelans from being lost to this double-crisis.

“It is our duty to show Venezuelan children that we care,” said Carmen Aurora Garcia, Country Coordinator for World Vision in Venezuela. “Children are the future of Venezuela and we must work together to help protect them when most vulnerable and equip them for the future. Our investment now helps children not only survive this catastrophe, but empowers them to look toward a brighter and hopeful future."

For further information or to organise an interview, please contact: Chris Huber, Communications Manager, World Vision Venezuela Crisis Response; chris_huber@wvi.org; +1-360-319-4338