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ISPCAN Address to 67th World Health Assembly, May 2014, Geneva, Switzerland

Tuesday, May 20, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Niki Bornes

World Health Assembly Agenda Item:

14.3 Addressing the global challenge of violence, in particular against women and girls.


The World Health Organization (WHO) agenda item can be read at:




The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect[1] (ISPCAN) is a multidisciplinary professional organization with members from over 100 countries.

ISPCAN recognizes the health sector’s crucial role in addressing violence, through prevention and by providing services for those affected by violence. ISPCAN therefore commends the World Health Assembly for this initiative.

ISPCAN is committed to the Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 19[2]: “The right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence”. General Comment 15[3] recognizes that violence “threatens the life and survival of children” and so children need an environment “that protects children from violence”.


ISPCAN therefore asserts that the resolution must uphold the rights of all children – boys and girls – to freedom from violence and access to a protective environment, by calling for a heath sector response to violence that is inclusive and non-discriminatory.


Violence by and towards boys and men is a significant public health problem in itself, and no less deserving of attention than violence against women and girls. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children notes “many types of violence have a gender dimension, with girls particularly at risk of sexual violence and boys of more severe physical
punishment and gang-related violence” (p. xv)[4]. However, research shows the true incidence of sexual abuse of boys may be under-estimated as they are less likely to report it than girls. Furthermore, preventing violence against boys and men is crucial to ending violence against women and girls.


ISPCAN therefore urges WHO and its Member States to ensure that all operational paragraphs in the proposed resolution highlight the crucial importance of addressing all children – boys and girls - in the health sector’s response to violence.


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