Written by Katherine Toumbourou, Brittany Persinger and Elena Gaia
The world has changed dramatically since May 2019, when we last reported on the progress of World Vision’s global campaign, It takes a world to end violence against children. With the global COVID-19 pandemic and related health, environmental and other crises consuming our attention, the world’s children have become even more vulnerable.
As activists for the protection of children, we might have thought these big issues of our time would drive attention away from ending violence against children, at a time in which acts of violence were predicted to rise dramatically. We feared that the global community would first secure their basic needs, and only after that look to protect social relationships and mental health.
Today, we are pleased to share that our worst fears in this regard have not come true. In fact, never has global attention to protecting children and women from violence been as high as during the most widespread and publicised global health crisis. An indicator of this is the high number of celebrities who have spoken out on this issue – quite astounding. There are real concerns for the safety of millions of children backed by data, and the window of opportunity for societal transformation in this moment is tremendous.
Yet, we continue struggling with the complexity of ending violence against children, the difficulties of showing progress – especially when it comes to the contribution of campaigns like It takes a world – and the shifting attitudes and behaviours at the root of violence. We need to find new ways of addressing these complex issues. At the same time, we celebrate the extraordinary amount of political capital that has been invested in ending violence against children since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015.
The movement to end violence against children exists and is irreversible. Children are at its forefront. The actions from the It takes a world to end violence against children campaign detailed in this report are but one of many indicators.
In our pledge towards ending violence against children we know what it takes: it takes all parts of society to create a protective blanket around children, as well as a robust net to catch those who may slip out from under it.
When looking back at the achievements in this report, it is clear that this campaign and its partners have truly attempted to do ‘whatever it takes’, to protect children in their homes, at schools, in cities, in the most dangerous places, battling the most powerful natural disasters and more recently during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Looking ahead, I encourage each of us to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). Let us pick up the pace to achieve our campaign’s goals and see the end of violence against children in our lifetime.
President and CEO
World Vision International