NEW Global Survey Reveals
Children Around the World Feel Unsafe;
Canadian Adults Perceive Kids’ Reality Differently
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), a member of ChildFund Alliance,
Calls on All Nations to Keep Children Free from Violence
TORONTO (Nov. 20, 2015) – Childhood should be a time of carefree innocence, free from violence. Sadly, this is not the reality for many children around the world.
According to the 2015 Small Voices, Big Dreams (SVBD) international survey of nearly 6,000 children — conducted by ChildFund Alliance — 42 per cent of children globally do not feel safe at home or at school. In Canada, an astounding 64 per cent of kids do not feel safe at school, while 30 per cent feel the same about home.
This is a stark contrast to the views of adults in our country. A Canadian-specific omnibus survey conducted by Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) found that only 12 per cent of adults think children may be unsafe at school and eight per cent feel children may be unsafe at home.
Safety Online a Concern for Children and Parents
The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey also found 63 per cent of children from developed countries feel they are at risk of being emotionally abused or mistreated online. This is consistent with Canadian children’s fears in this area; Canadian adults agree, with 70 per cent saying the Internet poses a safety concern.
When it comes to keeping them safe, one in five children from developing countries believe education is the key. This number drops to one in 10 for Canadian kids. Instead, 45 per cent of Canadian children would turn to law enforcement to make a difference — whether that’s strengthening laws or ensuring abusers are punished. This reinforces the increased need for laws pertaining to child protection.
More than a quarter of kids globally think parents can keep children safe by loving them more.
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada is deeply concerned about the SVBD survey findings and is calling on the Canadian government, businesses and citizens to help find solutions by joining the conversation at #FreeFromViolence.
It’s Up to Us to Keep Children #FreeFromViolence
“Children mirror the society in which they live,” says Mark Lukowski, Chief Executive Officer, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. “Whether it’s perception or reality, our world seems uncertain and unsafe to the young. Children are expressing real concerns about their safety and want all of us to address the violence they face. That’s why we are calling on Canadians to share ideas and join the conversation using the hashtag #FreeFromViolence.”
Listening to Small Voices; Fulfilling Big Dreams
The sixth-annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey provides a comprehensive look at children’s views on safety, violence and their rights. This year, nearly 6,000 10-to-12-year-olds in 44 countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific, were asked for their views on issues that affect them.
Among the findings, the survey found one-third of children in developing countries say adults can keep children safe by loving them more — a basic need we all have the responsibility to meet.
Although children in developed countries report feeling more loved, they don’t believe adults listen to them enough. This includes one-third of all Canadian children. On the flip side, almost one-third of Canadian adults say listening to kids will help keep them safe, with an astounding 92 per cent even stating this is the one of the most effective ways to help.
Globally, 17 per cent of boys said they would protect or stand up for someone of the opposite gender to keep them safe, while 17 per cent of girls said they would discourage bad behaviour by voicing their concern. In developed countries, 24 per cent of boys say they would protect others and 24 per cent of girls say they would tell another person if someone was being harmed. Only 15 per cent of children globally would tell an adult, teacher or caregiver that a child of the opposite gender needs protection from harm. This number rises slightly in Canada to 26 per cent.
A Global Wake-Up Call
“We hope the survey results act as a wake-up call to countries around the world to keep children #FreeFromViolence,” adds Lukowski. “Obviously, we have a long way to go in helping children feel safe and loved. We must acknowledge their voices and their fears so we can help them fulfill their dreams within a safe and supportive global community.”
KEY GLOBAL, REGIONAL AND COUNTRY-SPECIFIC FINDINGS
? There is a disconnect in the findings between Canadian children and adults. In the Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, 32 per cent of kids in Canada said they believe being with friends can be unsafe, while only eight per cent of adult respondents from the omnibus survey flagged this as a concern. Canadian kids were overwhelmingly concerned about walking alone, at 77 per cent, while only 40 per cent of adults listed that as the most unsafe situation. In comparison, 58 per cent of children globally were concerned about walking in places where they are alone (that translates to 55 per cent in developing countries compared to 68 per cent in developed countries).
? Forty-six per cent of respondents in developing countries answered that children may be at risk from harm “at home,” compared with 28 per cent in developed countries. That number skyrockets to 94 per cent in Togo and 91 per cent in Ghana.
? In developed countries, 63 per cent of respondents said children may be at risk from harm “online,” compared to 84 per cent of respondents in Sweden alone. Meanwhile, only 18 per cent of children in developing countries worry about online safety.
? Globally, 38 per cent of kids think adults mistreat children because they have the power to do so. In developed countries, children also think mistreatment is a form of punishment (43 per cent compared with 59 per cent of Canadian kids), and because the adults were victims of abuse themselves (43 per cent).
Knowledge is Power
? There is an urgent need to build a safer school environment, as 42 per cent of children said school is a place where they may be at risk of physical or emotional mistreatment, globally not feeling safe at school. This number climbs to 64 per cent in Canada.
? As world leaders, 22 per cent of children in the developing world would choose to educate children by building schools, by increasing enrolment and reducing school fees to make children safer.
All You Need Is Love
? When asked, “What’s the most important thing adults — especially parents and caregivers — could do to keep children safer from being mistreated?” the leading global answer was “Love children more” at 26 per cent.
? The top answer for how adults can keep children safe from harm in the developed world was to “Listen to what children have to say” at 30 per cent.
? Thirty-one per cent of children in developing countries say the most important thing parents/caregivers can do to keep children safe is to love children more. This slides to seven per cent of Canadian children and 11 per cent of Canadian adults who agree love is the answer.
Hope for the Future
? Children in both developed and developing countries would like to see those who abuse them be punished/sent to jail. Twenty-four per cent of respondents chose law/punishment as the principal change they would make to help keep children safe if they were a world leader.
? Twenty-one per cent of Canadian children believe punishing people who harm children would help keep kids safe, and adults agree at 22 per cent.
? Canadian children and adults also agree that reporting child abuse cases to the police will help keep kids safe at 16 and 17 per cent respectively.
“While Canadian children and parents generally agree on solutions, there is a wide gap in their perception of children’s safety. Despite what Canadian adults think, our kids do not feel safe in many environments,” says Terrance Slobodian, vice-president, Fund Development and Communications, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. “It’s a different world from when we grew up, and we need to enact change so children today feel nurtured and valued. Please join the conversation and help find solutions at #FreeFromViolence.”