Violence is both common and widespread – and no society is without some level of violence against its children.  Data confirm that some types – such as violent discipline – negatively affect children from rich and poor households alike.

In most countries with data, children from wealthier households are equally likely to experience violent discipline as those from poorer households

Percentage of children aged 2 to 4 years who experienced any violent discipline in the past month, by wealth quintile

Notes: Each dot represents a country.  Blue and orange dots represent countries in which differences in the percentage of children experiencing violent discipline by wealth quintile were statistically significant at the p<0.01 level.

Source: UNICEF analysis based on DHS and MICS, 2005–2016.

As girls and boys move through adolescence, they spend more time in an ever-expanding social environment and interact with a wider array of people.  Sexual violence against children can and does occur in countries of all incomes and development levels and can affect children at all ages and in different settings. While both boys and girls can be the target of sexual violence, data suggest that girls are generally at a heightened risk. Adolescence is a period of pronounced vulnerability, especially for girls.

Around 1 in 6 young women and 1 in 25 young men report childhood experiences of forced sex in Cameroon

Percentage of women aged 18 to 29 years and men aged 18 to 29 years who experienced forced sex before the age of 18