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Violence against children: the UN report
  1. Tony Waterston1,
  2. Jacqueline Mok2
  1. 1
    Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, UK
  2. 2
    Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Community Child Health Department, 10 Chalmers Crescent, Edinburgh EH9 1TS, UK
  1. Dr Tony Waterston, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6BE, UK; a.j.r.waterston{at}

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Understand that one person can do something about violence but many people can stop violence.

No violence against children is justifiable; all violence against children is preventable.

In November 2006 the UN issued the Secretary-General’s Report1 on violence against children. In a joint initiative, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have led the first global attempt to describe the scale and impact of all forms of violence against children. It follows the previous study2 by Graca Machel (wife of Nelson Mandela) on violence against children in armed conflict. It is therefore relevant to the UK and to the work of paediatricians who see the results of this violence in children’s lives, and is essential reading both in its wealth of statistics and its global overview of how to prevent violence. We review the report to bring out its implications for UK paediatricians, who are much concerned with the impact of violence and have a central role to play in its prevention. Paediatricians are key players in the management of child abuse and in protecting children from harm. Can they also take a high profile role in the prevention of violence and the promotion of non-violent policies?

The independent expert appointed to lead the study is Dr Paulo Pinheiro and his concept for the study outlines the objectives and methodology.3 The research covered the magnitude of violence, the causes both locally and nationally, and strategies for prevention. The methods used included information obtained from international and national organisations, regional consultations, field visits and wide discussion with children and young people. The last was a strong feature of the study and adds to its value; children’s comments are provided below. New research was …

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  • Competing interests: None.