Children, Violence, and Nonviolence

Authored by: Jane Hall Fitz-Gibbon

The Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194663
eBook ISBN: 9781315638751
Adobe ISBN:


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Children suffer violence at rates far higher than any other definable social group. The literature on child abuse—physical, sexual, and emotional—is extensive (for examples, see Finkelhor 1979, 1983, 1986; Gerbner, Ross, and Zigler 1980; Briere 1992; Straus 2001; Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz 2006, 2014). Stories of egregious child abuse often make headlines, yet these stories are only the tip of a very large iceberg. In contemporary society children are hurt through abuse and neglect at an alarming rate. In 2014 (the last statistical year at the time of writing), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated that 70 million young girls between the ages of 15 and 19 reported being victims of physical violence—a quarter of all girls in that age group. One hundred and twenty million females under the age of 20 are subject to rape or other forced sexual acts, while 95,000 children and young people under the age of 20 were the victims of homicide (UNICEF 2014, 1–6). In the same year, in the United States, 702,000 children were proven victims of abuse and neglect, out of over three million Child Protective Services (CPS) investigations, while 1,580 children died at the hands of their caregivers—nearly half of these less than a year old (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2014).

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