Widely perceived as a social taboo, an accepted practice or a needed form of discipline, violence against children is seldom reported; furthermore, official statistics remain limited in their ability to capture the full extent of this phenomenon wherever it
occurs. As a result, available information is scarce and only reflects the tip of the iceberg. Without reliable data, national planning is compromised, effective policymaking and resource mobilization are hampered and targeted interventions limited in their ability to prevent and combat violence against children. This is an area where urgent action is required and to which the Special Representative pays priority attention. Existing data sets on children provide a basis to build upon, but they need to be integrated beyond sectors and individual disciplines. Gaps in child protection areas need to be addressed and monitoring tools and indicators expanded to cover boys and girls of all ages and in all settings, and to identify those at greatest risk. Moreover, these efforts need to incorporate children’s views and perspectives, and capture their experience, and dynamic and evolving agency. This is crucial to understand the hidden face of violence and to address its root causes effectively.
Data and research are indispensable if we are to expose the hidden face of violence and address its root causes; understand perceptions and attitudes regarding this phenomenon, including among girls and boys of various ages and social backgrounds; identify children at greater risk and effectively support them; and assess the economic costs of violence and the social gains that can be achieved through steady investment in prevention. These are areas where consolidated partnerships and the acceleration of efforts will remain of the essence.