World Vision says a one major problem that remains prevalent around the world is violence against women and girls, which is a particular problem either during an emergency or immediately in its aftermath.
“As the aid response to the Philippines disaster intensifies, and horrors continue to emerge from the war in Syria, the prevention of violence against women and children must be at the front of everyone’s minds. We know from experience working in emergencies for more than 60 years, that sadly, in emergencies children are at their most vulnerable. Studies show violence increases and it is often women and girls who suffer the most. And yet, protecting them is the most consistently under-funded aspect of emergency responses, receiving on average less than a third of what is needed.” said David Thomson, head of policy and programmes for child-focused aid agency World Vision.
Whilst governments and UN agencies debate how to prevent violence against women and girls during emergencies World Vision says efforts should focus on prevention and improving what it calls “survivor led accountability”
Mr. Thompson said the agency will know it is doing a good job when victims say so. Violence often worsens in response to lack of shelter, cramped conditions and a general lack of privacy. In many cases victims are simply too afraid to report violence or they do not know how. For this reason raising awareness and focusing on prevention is key.
As the world has been reminded with the impact of the typhoon in the Philippines and the continuing violence in Syria focusing on root causes will help prevent child abuse.