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More than 1 billion children are affected by some type of violence each year.

Violence is the world’s worst crime against children. It happens in every country, city and community. Violence is a thief; physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect and exploitation rob children of their future, their dignity, human rights and God-given potential.

World Vision is relentlessly advocating for an end to violence against children; highlighting it when it occurs and holding those responsible to account. We work to prevent violence wherever it occurs so no child has to experience it. We are working with survivors, strengthening the systems and services available to them to ensure they have the chance to heal and recover. We will amplify their stories and voices.

We believe that a world without violence against children is possible.

How we're ending violence against children:

Ending Child marriage

More than 650 million women alive today were married before the age of 18. In 2016, an estimated 5.6 million girls under the age of 18 became child brides.

Child marriage compromises a child’s development and severely limits her or his opportunities in life. We believe that the legal age of marriage should be set at 18 or above in every country - for both girls and boys. We work with local authorities to implement existing laws and we empower girls and boys to report cases and take action to prevent forced marriages of their peers. A global effort has prevented about 25 million child marriages over the past 10 years. However, much more needs to be done.

child bride

Supported, by Irish Aid, our Humanitarian Programme Plan improves children’s access to education and promotes children’s rights, protecting them from child marriage. Our Maternal and Child Health Programme has been engaging with faith leaders to create greater community awareness of child protection and the prevention of early marriage. The programme has also been working closely with local partners to increase community awareness of dangers of teenage pregnancy, strengthen GBV referral pathways and youth friendly services at all levels of service provision.

Helping Refugees and conflict affected children

An estimated 535 million children, a quarter of the world's children, live in countries affected by conflict or disasters. Nearly 50 million have been forcibly displaced from their homes, increasing their vulnerability to exploitation and violence.

Children are the most vulnerable victims of conflict due to many factors. Besides being among the many civilian casualties during an armed conflict, children may be orphaned or separated from their families and become heads of households which leaves them vulnerable to forced labour, sexual exploitation or recruitment in armed forces.

Child friendly spaces
Child friendly
Child friendly spaces

One of World Vision Ireland’s Humanitarian Programme Plan key interventions are the establishment of Child Friendly Spaces and Early Childhood Development Centres. Through trained volunteers these spaces provide children with a safe place to play, to participate in activities and to access education. Thanks to the Irish public children have been able to escape from the terrors they have been exposed to as a result of a conflict. In these Child-Friendly Spaces, they have a chance to receive counselling and play. Youth are also supported with life skills training on peacebuilding and transformation, conflict management, leadership, communication, coexistence, and solidarity.

Preventing Sexual abuse and Gender Based Violence (GBV)

Worldwide, up to 50 percent of sexual assaults are committed on girls younger than 16. Almost a quarter of all trafficking victims around the world are girls, and the majority of them are being trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

We provide child survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse with shelter and help them heal and return to family and community life. We also train police personnel to address sexual crimes against children. We work with children, faith actors, media and the general population to challenge the social norms that condone sexual violence against children and against girls in particular. World Vision Ireland, with the support of Irish Aid, continues to work tirelessly around the clock to improve gender-based violence in the developing world, to protect the rights of women and children, and to help create a more equal society and world.


World Vision Ireland’s Humanitarian Programme Plan programme works to create a girl-friendly environment in schools, strengthens community-based protection mechanisms through schools clubs, child protection and GBV committees and strengthens access to psycho-social support and response services.

World Vision Irelands AIM Health Plus Programme works with community groups to increase community awareness and action on GBV prevention sharing messages against early marriage, teenage pregnancy and other forms of GBV.

Read some of our inspirational stories

What we have learned about ending violence against children:

It can be done: ending violence against children is possible

It takes a world: key actors must be engaged and participating

There is no magic wand: ending violence requires a combination of different approa

Context is key: when our approaches reflect the local culture, norms and infrastructure, they work

Big picture, little picture: solutions require direct interventions and longer-term system strengthening

It takes children: boys and girls play a significant role, as active agents of change

Scaling up: do more of what works, in more places