Learn more about DUVE’s vision, mission and work in the frequently asked questions below.
What is the purpose of the DUVE project?
The DUVE project aims to create insight into the problem of violence against children (VAC) in the participating countries in order to raise awareness regarding the consequences of VAC and to work towards the reduction of its prevalence. The project has not only worked with students and faculty members at the partner institutions, but has also initiated outreach activities in local communities and supported exchange opportunities for students in practical placements as well as study opportunities where the reduction of VAC has been an area of focus.
DUVE is an Erasmus+-funded project between five educational institutions in Vietnam, Uganda and Denmark. The lead partner is University College Absalon in Denmark and the other project partners are Muni University in Uganda, Hanoi Medical University in Vietnam, National College of Education Hanoi in Vietnam and National College of Education Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Humber College in Canada is not a formal project partner but has contributed with significant input to the project. In addition, Azur Christian Health Centre in Uganda is a non-academic associated partner, though it is not funded by DUVE.
What is violence against children?
Violence against children (VAC) includes all forms of abuse towards young people under the age of 18. This includes sexual abuse, physical and psychological/emotional abuse and neglect. With respect to infants and young children, VAC is often of a physical, sexual and emotional nature, and parents and figures of authority are often the perpetrators. Prevalence of physical and emotional abuse and neglect is not gender-related but girls have a greater risk of sexual abuse. Adolescents are more prone to peer violence and partner violence, according to data from WHO.
The DUVE project has highlighted the fact that types of VAC can vary considerably with respect to the cultural setting. For example, forced feeding of children is an issue in Vietnam but is less prevalent in the other countries participating in the project, while bullying and social media mobbing are issues in Denmark and can cause significant emotional damage to its victims.
Physical punishment in the school setting is a major area of focus in both Uganda and Vietnam. Female genital mutilation is also a form of VAC that is still practiced in some remote areas of Uganda and child labour is a global issue. Domestic violence can also be categorized as VAC, as domestic violence can cause considerable emotional damage even though the child may not necessarily be the direct physical recipient of such violence.
How many children worldwide are exposed to violence?
Globally, it is estimated that up to one billion children aged 2 to 17 years old have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year. This is equivalent to 1 in 2 children, according to data from WHO.
Why does violence against children occur?
Why violence against children has numerous causes. These include cultural factors influenced by norms and habits, gender roles, politics, economics, social models that support inequality and hierarchies and understandings of acceptable methods for the upbringing of children.
Social and psychological conditions can have a major impact on incidents of child violence. Poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, mental illness and traumatic events can influence both the level and form of violence that children experience, says UNICEF.
Which children are particularly vulnerable to violence?
Some children are particularly vulnerable because of their gender, race, ethnic origin or socioeconomic status. Higher levels of vulnerability are often associated with children with disabilities, orphans, indigenous populations, ethnic minorities and other marginalized groups.
Other risk factors are associated with living and working on the streets, living in institutions, detention and living in communities where inequality, unemployment and poverty are high. Natural disasters, armed conflict and displacement may expose children to additional risks. Child refugees, internally displaced children and unaccompanied migrant children are also populations where the prevalence of VAC is of concern.
How can violence against children be detected?
Signs that a child may be experiencing physical abuse include unexplained bruises, cuts, burns or welts. More general signs of children having experienced violence can be nervousness and difficulty trusting people, aggressive behaviour or the tendency to try to dominate and control other people. Some children respond to violence by becoming more closed and introverted.
Appetites often change and children may exhibit symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches and other vague physical responses. Problems concentrating can lead to poor performance in school and alcohol and substance abuse, and criminality can also be seen as responses to violence. If not broken, the cycle of violence can affect future generations as children that grow up with violence often become perpetrators of violence.
What are the consequences of violence against children?
VAC can have both short-term and long-term consequences. VAC can negatively impact the brain’s development as research suggests that toxic stress can impair brain development and damage the nervous system.
Well-documented health and social consequences of VAC include increased risk of mental health issues, suicide, sexually transmitted disease, substance abuse, obesity, poor academic achievement and negatively impacted psychosocial well-being, as well as negative economic consequences.
The far-reaching effects of VAC, as well as its global prevalence, has resulted in the reduction of VAC being incorporated into the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The DUVE project links directly to several of these goals, specifically Goal 4: Quality Education and the following targets under this goal:
Target 4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.
Target 4.A Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.
The DUVE Project is also linked to Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and the following targets under this goal:
Target 16.1 Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere.
Target 16.2 End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
Target 16.A Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.
How can we help the children who are violated?
Parenting programs and outreach activities that focus on providing parents, family members and childcare practitioners with a range of options, tools and alternative ways of parenting can lead to positive results and violence-free child upbringing.
The education of professionals who have contact with children and parents, such as social educators, teachers, nurses, midwives and social workers, can also help.
Supporting legislation protecting the rights of children provides protection for children and heightens the public’s awareness of the need to ensure that children grow up without the threat of violence. Support programs for those that have experienced violence are also important.