Violence in the Age of Innocence
By Marcela Valente
ASUNCION, Apr 29, 2011 (IPS) – The countries of Latin America are working slowly to overcome barriers in the fight against the often brutal violence suffered by children and adolescents in their homes, schools, workplaces or juvenile detention centres.
Five years after the release of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children in 2006, a new study presented Thursday in Paraguay, focused on South America, reports that progress has been slow.
Abandonment, exploitation and corporal punishment are some of the ills that remain part of the day-to-day reality of too many children and teenagers in the region. The new report states that six million children in the region suffer serious physical abuse, and 80,000 die every year as a result of abuse at the hands of their parents.
In the English-speaking Caribbean, nearly 43 percent of girls under 12 who have already had sex admitted that the first time, they were raped.
Governments have failed to protect children against all kinds of violence, and the poor and the marginalised are the hardest hit, says the study carried out by experts at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, based on data provided by countries in the region.
The authors also express concern about increasing bullying among peers, aggravated by the use of the Internet and the rise in emotional abuse by parents and teachers, which is largely invisible but causes a great deal of harm by undermining the self-esteem of youngsters, they say.
LATIN AMERICA: Violence in the Age of Innocence
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