The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRCO) establishes the fundamental right of protecting children from any form of violence. The rights of children are composed of four main pillars: the right to survival, the right to protection, the right to development, and the right to participation. These goals are also reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to ensure that all children have their rights protected, are free from fear, neglect, cruelty, and misuse. Examples of violence and harmful treatment include forced marriage during childhood, circumcision, child labor, and the recruitment and use of children in armed forces. Protecting children from any form of violence is a fundamental right stated in the United Nations Convention on the Right of the Child (CRCO). Child’s rights comprise of 4 main pillars: the right to survival, the right to protection, the right to development and the right to participation. These goals are also included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development whose goals are for all children to have protection of their rights, to live with no fear, and be free from neglect, cruelty, and misuse. Examples of violence and harmful treatment include forced marriage during childhood, circumcision, child labor, and recruitment and use of children into armed forces.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have the objective of eliminating child abuse. SDG Goal 16.2 aims to “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children.” SDG Goal 5.2 is to “Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.” SDG Goal 5.3 aims to eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and women’s circumcision.” All 17 goals of the SDGs are interconnected and aim to improve quality of life, health, access to education, and overall well-being of children.
The use of violence against children is a critical world problem. One child dies every five minutes as a result of violence. World Health Organization (WHO) reported in the Status Report on Preventing Violence Against Children that a billion children experience physical, mental and sexual violence. Three out of four children whose ages are 2-4 years are attacked by their parents or guardians. Moreover, one of four children whose ages are below 5 years live with parents who used to be victims and experienced violence from mother’s spouse. One hundred and twenty women whose ages are below 20 years have experienced sexual abuse. By the year 2020, a total of 40,150 children whose ages are below 18 died of mistreatment. According to UNICEF’s report about ranking problems on violence against children, it was found that Middle Africa and Middle East are top ranking; Gana (94%), Egypt (93%), The Central African Republic (92%), Benin and Morocco (31%), Liberia (90%) Syria and Bangladesh (89%), Jordan (82%), and Iraq (81%). For Asia in particular, the top-ranking countries are Azerbaijan and Myanmar (77%) and Thailand (75%),
In Thailand, violence against children have continuously been reported. According to One Stop Crisis Center (OSCC), an organization under the supervision of Ministry of Public Health, it was found that, between B.E. 2547- B.E. 2561, a total of 121,800 children received help from the OSCC; most of them were sexually abused by persons who were close to them. In B.E. 2558, the OSCC received 23,977 cases from phoning in; 45% was violence against children in many forms, and 10% was physically abused. Further, Department of Children and Youth (DCY) stated in the report that, in B.E. 2562, a total of 1,226 children were experienced domestic violence and were given services in shelters. More than 50% of them revealed that they were mostly physically beaten, sexually abused, or being raped or assaulted the second, and also indecent assault, 11% declared that they were mentally abused by the use of abusive or vulgar language, or hurtful words. In B.E. 2563, 203 children were violently abused and received welfare and welfare protection; 74% were reportedly sexually abused, 44% were physically assaulted. The violence against children in Thailand also include neglect and forced marriage in childhood. Violence against children takes many forms, with emotional and physical abuse being the most common. Children can be harmed by their parents, guardians, or caretakers through physical and verbal abuse, or through actions that damage their mental well-being. Some argue that teaching children proper values and self-discipline can help prevent such abuse.
In Thailand, physical punishment is still a protocol generally used at homes, and schools and educational institutes, including correctional facilities for youth. Violence in the forms of punishment has many levels, starting from body-shaking or dragging, yelling, shouting, hitting with hands or things, reprimanding by using vulgar language, to attacking them with violence constantly. Violent punishment is most commonly inflicted on children between the ages of 3-4. This is often due to a lack of education and knowledge about positive reinforcement among parents or guardians, resulting in a lack of proper parenting skills. Additionally, children who are vulnerable, such as those with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or from disadvantaged backgrounds, are at a higher risk of experiencing abuse. In 75 countries, Thailand is ranked 7th in the belief that physical punishment is necessary for discipline. Violence against children by those close to them, such as family members, can have a detrimental impact not only on the children themselves, but also on their families, society, and economy. Abused children may suffer physical and mental harm, including injuries, illnesses, disabilities, and developmental delays.
The trauma caused by violence can leave deep emotional wounds on children, potentially leading to conditions such as paranoia, disorders, difficulty in socializing, or even suicide. Children may become aggressive, addicted to violence, or rely on drugs, cigarettes or alcohol. Violence against children may damage relationship between members of the family, and cause broken homes, inability to do family activities, quarrels, and that can result in living lives and performing tasks and duties. Mistreatment on children will have impact on children themselves and the rest of their lives. They may not be successful in lives, and have academic failure, become dropouts, or become dependent persons of the society or persons who commit murder.
In order to deal with violence against children, it is important to study not only the behavior dimension of persons who are close to them, but also domestic structure, including culture, attitudes, adults’ values, domestic economic status, accessibility to education, and laws and regulations to stop violence against children in all forms. However, information about vulnerable children and families, social protection, cultural belief, attitude against violence and aggressive behaviors is not well-organized and scattered in many sources. This is an obstruct to promote understanding about situations and conditions related to violence against children in Thailand.
The Government of Thailand has signed in The World Fit for Children Declaration and Plan of Action, calling for each country to establish proper mechanism in collecting data and following social indicators about children well-being. In B.E. 2562, Thailand has developed a project that surveyed about children and women’s situations in Thailand. The project is to serve that purpose. Regarding violence against children in particular, behavioral and attitudinal data is collected in which those data cannot be achieved from any other source. Researchers need to use that particular set of data to survey about situation in which children experience violence and establish relationship between children’s personalities, economic conditions and domestic environment, educational background and attitude towards violence, and experiences being victims resulting from parents who use violence and exercise violence against their children. This study is a part of knowledge management about Thai children’s well-being viewing through the lens where inequality and sustainability exist. The result will determine problems about children’s well-being in term of violence that helps the Government with policy development and customized measures that can help tackle the problems.