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‘Violence against children prevalent, despite drop’

 

The Jordan Times

 

 
AMMAN — Violence against children in Jordan remains an issue both culturally and socially, according to both UNICEF and the Jordan River Foundation (JRF) organisations.
 
UNICEF Jordan Representative Tanya Chapuisat said that the protective environment for children in Jordan continues to improve, both in terms of the social norms that condemns violations of children’s rights as well as in the capacity of institutions to respond to children who survive these violations. Nevertheless, violence against children remains culturally and socially condoned. 
 
“Ninety-eight per cent of children experience violent discipline, psychological and/or physical. In 2020, reports of family violent incidents made to the Family Protection Department (FPD) increased by 33 per cent,” Chapuisat said. 
 
Eight out of 10 children are subjected to violent discipline, while close to 60 per cent of children aged 9 to 14 experience physical punishment at home. “These numbers are decreasing slowly, but they remain unacceptably high,” she noted.
 
Chapuisat also added that the COVID-19 pandemic has created further stress within families, with caregivers reporting increased frustrations and increasing use of verbal and physical violence towards children.
 
She also noted that proximity to conflict, high stress levels in parents, poverty and low parental education levels all increase a child’s likelihood of experiencing violence.
 
According to Chapuisat, UNICEF works with the Government of Jordan to end violence against children in all settings, knowing that prevention is in the best interest of every child so that they can grow up happy and healthy to fulfil their potential.
 
Case management and justice support are provided for children and youth experiencing violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, as well as psychosocial support to children from birth to youth, Chapuisat noted.
 
She also highlighted the UN agency’s case management and justice support for children and youth experiencing violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, as well as psychosocial support to children from birth to youth and promoting positive parenting to their parents in early childhood development classes through a network of 140 Makani centres across the country.
 
UNICEF Makani centres provide vulnerable children — both refugees and Jordanians — access to learning support services and community-based child protection
 
Chapuisat added that, UNICEF continues to advocate for legislative and policy reform for children, including the Childhood Law and Juvenile Law.
 
Head of Intervention Services at the Child Safety Programme of the JRF Iman Aqrabawi said that the JRF offers specialised psychological intervention programmes for children suffering from violence and abuse. This includes therapy as well as group interventions focusing on recovery and resilience. 
 
“We are keen on engaging with parents to help enhance their skills and knowledge concerning sound parenting practices. Through JRF’s 110 helpline, we continue to offer children protection and prevention services free of charge,” Aqrabawi noted. 
 
Aqrabawi also called for a more parent-focused intervention and support services that are free and accessible. 
 
Working with service providers — case management professionals, social workers — to build their capacity is equally important, Aqrabawi added.
 
“We need to empower parents and caregivers to end violence against children and promote positive parenting skills to create violence-free homes, which will help parents realise that ‘tough love’ violent discipline is harmful to children’s wellbeing and development,” Chapuisat noted.
 
 

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