Protecting children from violence in the time of COVID-19

Disruptions in prevention and response services

August 18, 2020

As daily lives and communities are upended by COVID-19, concern is mounting that children’s exposure to violence may increase. Children with a history of abuse may find themselves even more vulnerable – both at home and online – and may experience more frequent and severe acts of violence. Others may be victimized for the first time.

Understanding the current status of violence prevention and response services is therefore essential to assessing risks to children. A new UNICEF publication, Protecting Children from Violence in the Time of COVID-19: Disruptions in prevention and response services, documents what has happened to such services across the world:

  • 1.8 billion children live in the 104 countries where violence prevention and response services have been disrupted due to COVID-19
  • Case management and home visits for children and women at risk of abuse are among the most commonly disrupted services
  • Around two thirds of countries with disruptions reported that at least one type of service had been severely affected; however, 70 per cent of countries reported that mitigation measures had been put into place


Percentage distribution of countries by whether or not they have reported a disruption in any services related to violence against children, total and by region


Access the publication