The costs and economic impact of violence against children

Research reports and studies
September 2014
Paola Pereznieto, Andres Montes, Solveig Routier and Lara Langston
Every day, millions of children throughout the world are subjected to abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence in different settings, including in their homes, schools, communities and work environments. As a result, children experience impacts on their physical and mental health, their education and their overall quality of life. The consequences of violence on children are often intergenerational, with those who have faced violence as a child more likely to become a violent adult. This cycle has a long-term impact on a family’s economic wellbeing.

This report and briefing presents the main findings of a report commissioned by ChildFund Alliance, exploring the economic impacts and costs of violence against children. It presents a summary of the available evidence from different countries and provides some estimates of the global costs of violence and exploitation against children.

The annual global costs of the worst forms of child labour are approximately $97 billion, and those resulting from children’s association with armed forces or groups can be up to $144 million annually. The evidence clearly shows that ‘prevention pays’, but current levels of government spending on preventive and responsive actions in relation to violence against children remain very low. Research and advocacy efforts need to continue, with a focus on promoting good practices for prevention. Funding for this should be scaled up.