Hidden in Plain Sight

Edit Article
Hidden in plain sight cover.png

Download the full report.


This report by UNICEF was created to help document the true nature and extent of violence against children across the world.

Despite the difficulties in measuring violence against children, and considerable gaps, an unprecedented volume of data on the subject has become available over the last two decades that is providing the evidence countries need to develop effective policies, legislation and programmes to address violence. This report makes use of available evidence to describe what is currently known about global patterns of violence against children, using data compiled from a selection of sources.

Research has shown that violence is detrimental to all aspects of a child’s growth, including physical, psychological and social development and functioning, with sometimes lifelong repercussions.

This report provides evidence that violence is ever-present in the lives of children from all walks of life around the world. Interpersonal violence takes many forms – physical, sexual and emotional – and occurs in many settings, including the home, school, community and over the Internet. Similarly, a wide range of perpetrators commit violence against children, such as family members, intimate partners, teachers, neighbours, strangers and other children.


  • In 2012 alone, almost 95,000 children and adolescents under age 20 were victims of homicide, making it a leading cause of preventable injury and death among children.
  • On average, about 6 in 10 children worldwide (almost 1 billion) between the ages of 2 and 14 are subjected to physical (corporal) punishment by their caregivers on a regular basis.
  • Only about 3 in 10 adults worldwide believe that physical punishment is necessary to properly raise or educate a child.
  • Worldwide, more than one in three students between the ages of 13 and 15 experience bullying on a regular basis.
  • Around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives.
  • Nearly half of all adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 who reported ever having experienced physical and/or sexual violence said they never told anyone about it.
  • Close to half of all girls aged 15 to 19 worldwide (about 126 million) think a husband or partner is sometimes justified in hitting or beating his wife (or partner).

See also

UNICEF Child-Wellbeing measure
UNICEF – Towards a Post-2015 World Fit for Children

External links

Center for Child Development: Innocenti Report Cards

Childinfo: UNICEF’s statistical information

UNICEF Publication The State of the World’s Children

UNICEF Publication Progress for  Children