ISPCAN Address to 67th World Health Assembly, May 2014, Geneva, Switzerland
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Posted by: Niki Bornes
World Health Assembly Agenda Item:
14.3 Addressing the global challenge of violence, in particular against women
The World Health Organization (WHO) agenda item
can be read at:
The International Society for the Prevention of
Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN)
is a multidisciplinary professional organization with members from over 100
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: “The
right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence”. General Comment 15
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).
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.