CROSS RIVER State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has launched the state- wide campaign to end Violence Against Children, VAC, in Calabar the state capital. The launch of VAC in the state was with the support of USAID and UNICEF, United Nations Children’s Fund. Cross River is the second state in the country to respond to the call of President Muhammadu Buhari for every state to initiate their own campaign during the national year of action to end Violence Against Children, which was launched on 15th
September 2015. While launching the VAC campaign, Ayade said, “I am proud to launch the End Violence Against Children Campaign for Cross River State. We must work together to translate the promises we are making to children on paper today to change the lives of children affected by acts or threats of violence. We cannot waste another minute. We cannot fail our children and our future generations.” According to the 2014 survey on violence against children conducted by National Population Commission, NPC, approximately 6 out of every 10 children experience some form of physical, emotional or sexual violence before the age of 18, which shows that millions of children suffer violence every year in Nigeria. UNICEF said that the survey, conducted with support from UNICEF and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals that one in two children experience physical violence; one in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual violence; and one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence. Most children do not tell anyone what has happened to them and fewer than five per cent receive the help they need to recover.
Cross River State has announced priority actions, developed by a broad section of state ministries, the police, non- governmental organisations, and community and faith- based organisations, among others, to prevent and respond to violence against children. UNICEF Nigeria representative, Jean Gough, noted that “While national level commitments are important, the translation of these commitments into action at state, local government area and ward level is critical, UNICEF warmly congratulates Cross River State. We are excited to see states are heeding the call of his Excellency, President Buhari, and launching their own campaigns and state specific priority actions.” Gough said that UNICEF reiterates its support for the Presidential Year of Action to End Violence Against Children and is committed to supporting states in their efforts to ensure that all children can grow up free from violence. “We have made progress in this fight but much still remains to be done, children must be protected from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. All Violence against children is never justified. Violence is preventable.” U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, ad interim, Maria E. Brewer, added.

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