Chen Kun Urges Everyone to Join the Campaign to “Make the Invisible Visible” by Ending Violence Against Children

BEIJING, Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Today, UNICEF Ambassador Chen Kun added his voice to call for an end to violence against children. In a short film, the well-known and respected actor, urges everyone to act to "make the invisible, visible" and to put an end to violence against children that has a detrimental impact on their development and well-being.

In China, like in other countries, violence against children remains a problem deeply rooted in culture and widely accepted by society. Tradition holds that whatever happens within the home is a family matter, and not necessarily the responsibility of society at large or the Government. This leads to the phenomenon that when domestic violence is committed many cases are not identified and go unreported leaving children without any support.

"For a long time in China, children have been treated like private property. People think that to beat or curse children is not family violence. This concept has led us to hurt our children." Chen Kun reflected, "I hope people can join us to carry on the campaign of making the invisible visible."

The film, which focuses on family violence, was made as part of a visit to Tianjin with the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), who have been working with UNICEF to develop community based services and policies to address violence against children.  

Global evidence has demonstrated that violence against children can have long term and lasting effects on a childs emotional and social development, and can also lead to them becoming future victims or acting violently themselves as adults thereby perpetuating the cycle of violence.

"Ending violence against children is an ethical imperative, but it also makes economic sense. Besides its impact on child victims and their families, violence has far-reaching costs for society: around the world it is diverting billions of dollars from social spending, slowing economic development; eroding human and social capital; and severely limiting children from reaching their full potential resulting in huge losses to society. However, violence against children is not inevitable and can be prevented," said Tim Sutton, UNICEF Deputy Representative at an event hosted by the UN System in China and ACWF to commemorate this year’s International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls.

A recent study estimates that the global economic impacts and costs resulting from the consequences of physical, psychological and sexual violence against children can be as high as US$7 trillion or 8% of global GDP (*). A similar study mentions that for every dollar spent on eliminating severe physical violence as a method of child discipline there will be a benefit of USD 11. [i]

Currently, in China, there is a lack of comprehensive data on violence against children that in turn has made it more difficult to determine the scale of the problem and design an effective and comprehensive response. This is compounded by the lack of an integrated national child protection system that can help identify children and families at risk, and intervene with services to prevent and respond to violence, often made worse by stress and economic pressures.

As part of the End Violence Against Children global initiative, UNICEF globally, has identified six key strategies of "what works" to prevent and respond to violence against children, that countries can implement to realize their commitment to eliminate violence against children.

  • Supporting parents, caregivers and families
    Educating families, caregivers and parents on their child¡¯s early development increases the likelihood that they will use positive disciplining methods. This reduces the risk of violence within the home.
  • Helping children and adolescents manage risks and challenges
    Giving children and adolescents the skills to cope and manage risks and challenges without the use of violence and to seek appropriate support when violence does occur is crucial for reducing violence in schools and communities.
  • Changing attitudes and social norms that encourage violence and discrimination
    Changing the attitudes and social norms that hide violence in plain sight is the surest way to prevent violence from occurring in the first place.
  • Promoting and providing support services for children
    Encouraging children to seek quality professional support and report incidents of violence helps them to better cope with and resolve experiences of violence.
  • Implementing laws and policies that protect children
    Implementing and enforcing laws and policies that protect children sends a strong message to society that violence is unacceptable and will be punished.
  • Carrying out data collection and research
    Knowing about violence – where it occurs, in what forms, and which age groups and communities of children are most affected – is essential to planning and designing intervention strategies, and setting numerical and time-bound targets to monitor progress and end violence.

In China, as a member of the UN Task Force on Family Violence Law, UNICEF is advocating for a comprehensive set of measures to protect children against violence within the family and also to provide a comprehensive response to victims of abuse. It hopes that these recommendations will be reflected in the national Family Violence Law that is currently under review.

UNICEF is also working with the ACWF and other partners to strengthen community based services including by developing the capacity of families and communities themselves as well as different experts in the judiciary, family and child welfare and health care systems to better identify children at risk of abuse or children who have been abused and referring them and their families to appropriate services.

As part of this support to ACWF, a national anti-family violence hotline s that is now operating in 2,800 counties and a Community Response Toolkit on addressing Violence Against Children are available that contribute to the prevention and response to violence against children, thereby strengthening the quality of and demand for child protection services.

Watch Chen Kun’s video:

[i] (*)

The costs and economic impact of violence, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and ChildFund Alliance, 2014


Anke Hoeffler and James Fearon, Copenhagen Consensus Center, The benefits and costs of the conflict and violence targets for the post-2015 development agenda, 2014