The keys to child violence in Chile

August 14, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

During the talk "The reunion in violent times", organized by Fundación Colunga, Ludmila Palazzo, Child Protection specialist of UNICEF Chile, gave figures related to the violence to which children are exposed in the region and in our country.

Although, according to the expert, there is a lack of information on child violence, which may have an impact on the construction of public policies, both for prevention and for attention to rights violations, there are data that reveal the current reality of children in Latin America: 1 in 2 children experience physical punishment, at very early ages.

However, only 1 in 10 adults in the region considers physical punishment as an appropriate tool to educate children. The question is why does this not translate to practice?

“People who use violence to 'educate' children do not understand that violence is taught. They are learning emotional relationships and confusing them with violence. That makes children grow tolerant of violence and can exercise it with their peers and in the future, ”says Ludmila.   

In Chile, violence has been decreasing in recent years, according to UNICEF data, but slowly. 

As a society, we have not been able to lower the level of violence that children experience: “All indicators for children have improved in the last 20 years in Chile, but violence has improved little, especially in the daily lives of children” , highlights the UNICEF specialist.

The ELPI survey of the Ministry of Social Development, conducted in 2017, indicates that 31.7% of parents do not use violence to discipline. For Ludmila, this is the key: “We have to ensure that this percentage can communicate with others and say how and what type of network they have to avoid violence. We have to study nonviolence to understand what kind of resources they have. ”

The preventive focus is very important, although it varies according to the stage of development in which each child is, that is, the projects and interventions cannot be the same for each age.

Ludmila highlighted the Sustainable Development Goals which focus on the elimination of violence against children: 5 (Gender Equality) and 16 (Justice and Peace). Both are seen as a possibility of regional commitment.

Currently UNICEF is working on an intersectoral strategy to end the violence experienced by children in Chile and the region.

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