2020 has been a difficult year to say the least. In addition to the struggles and stresses on children in dealing with the coronavirus, the need for vulnerable children to be protected from violence has only intensified in the aftershocks of the virus. Sadly, a World Vision report from earlier this year concluded that up to an additional 85 million children may experience violence as a result of the secondary impacts of COVID-19 — that’s in addition to the one billion that already experience violence each year! While the pandemic has slowed progress on several fronts, it has not deterred World Vision’s commitment to ending violence against children.
As part of this commitment, World Vision, along with our partner organizations and partners in Congress, authored and advanced through the House of Representatives the Ending Violence Against Children Resolution, which will condemn all forms of violence against children while helping develop a strategy to prevent, address, and end violence against children globally. The unanimous passage of this resolution in the House means that Congress has gone on record in recognizing that the protection of vulnerable children should be a greater priority in the U.S. government’s foreign assistance programs. This is an important success, and World Vision and our partners want to build on this momentum and take this effort a step further.
Building on success
We are currently working with peer organizations and our congressional partners on a new piece of legislation that would do more to increase protection for vulnerable children around the world. The Strengthening Efforts to End Violence Against Children Act would mandate the use of evidenced-based strategies to address violence and recognize child protection interventions as lifesaving in humanitarian and conflict areas. This change would ensure that more money is being prioritized for child protection programs in these areas where they are desperately needed.
In addition, this bill would require a greater level of coordination among U.S. government agencies that address violence against children to make sure effective programs continue and are appropriately implemented. This increased level of coordination is critical to ensuring that agencies are working in tandem, using their expertise to complement one another for greater protection of vulnerable children, and creating greater efficiencies to provide the greatest and most efficient impact with limited funding.
How do we make it happen?
So where do things stand with moving this bill through the legislative process? World Vision and our partners are currently refining the text of the draft bill while raising awareness of the issues at hand and the importance of this bill with congressional members. This will build momentum so that we can get several bipartisan cosponsors as soon as it’s introduced in Congress.
You can help us do that! Though the bill hasn’t been introduced yet, you can still call or email your representative in Congress to make them aware of this effort and ask them to be an original cosponsor as soon as it is. The bill having many original cosponsors will show strong bipartisan agreement on the bill and will show key committees and House leadership that this bill is a priority. That will help the bill move quickly in the legislative process and become law, which means vulnerable children around the world will receive the support and care they need as soon as possible.
God loves and cares about children at risk of violence, and we want to show them God’s love through our actions. By working and advocating for policies and laws that protect children, we can help more kids experience the safety and happiness God wants for all of us — not just during our lifetimes, but for generations to come.
Help us take the next step to end violence against children!
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Top photo: Children who are part of World Vision’s “Dulce Tierra, Nuevo Sol” sponsorship program in Colombia. The program supports some of the most vulnerable people in the area during instability. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Ben Adams)