Reducing violence in young children's lives
We are investing in programmes to reduce violence in young children's lives in seven of our focus countries. These programmes focus on preventing the direct victimisation of young children; on violence against those who care for them, especially their mothers; and on addressing community violence in places where it is so bad that young children are afraid to play outside. We are concerned with this issue because – whether young children are direct victims or witnesses of violence – it affects their health, ability to learn and even the development of their young brains.
But we already knew this in 2011. What we learned in 2012 was the importance of hope. Although baseline research with more than 10,000 families in seven countries confirmed that this is a big problem, we also uncovered evidence of interventions that can get results in relatively short periods of time. The scientific basis for hope is growing fast. We know we can make things better.
We also learned that we are not alone. We have found committed and thoughtful allies. They are the ones who see the consequences of violence at first hand, and who have really led the movement for prevention – to stop violence before it starts.
But not everyone shares the sense of urgency that children, families, police and doctors feel, and not everyone shares the sense of hope that science has given our grantees and our staff in 2012. The challenge is to make the solution to violence as contagious as the problem. And that’s our plan for 2013.