Children in Gravest Danger When Forced to Flee

Children forced to flee their homes in conflict face the gravest risk of all displaced people according to a new World Vision report.

The finding comes as a UNHCR report yesterday revealed almost 175,000 children separated from their parents had become refugees or asylum seekers in the past year. In the same period, the number of displaced people in the world rose 2.9 million to 68.5 million – 52 per cent of them children.

"Children on the move experience violence in more extreme, more complex and potentially more damaging ways than those living in their home communities," the report states.

There are six grave violations occurring against children in conflict: killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access.

The World Vision report found that children are particularly vulnerable to violence and exploitation when they have been forced to leave their homes.

In light of the findings, World Vision is urgently calling on national governments to scale up investment in solutions for children forced to flee their homes.

The need has come into stark focus this week, as humanitarian agencies celebrate World Refugee Week.

There is clearly an urgent need to scale-up Australia’s aid investment to address the root causes of global displacement, World Vision Australia Policy and Advocacy Director Susan Anderson said.

"The normal safeguards for children are stripped away when they're on the move. It puts them at high risk, abuse or exploitation, and often spurring continuing cycles of fear and aggression.

"We need to tackle this issue on two fronts – firstly, by investing more aid to address the causes of displacement, and secondly by doing our part to take more refugees through our official humanitarian pathway."

World Vision has called on the government to increase the official refugee intake annually from its current 18,000 to 44,000 within five years.

“As we know from our recent experiences witnessing the desperation of people fleeing persecution and violence in our own Asia-Pacific region, this is a global challenge that impacts on all of us and every government needs to play its part.”

The report was produced as part of World Vision's global campaign It Takes a World to End Violence Against Children.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Susan Anderson, contact senior media officer Ruth Lamperd on 0417 765 947 or


Picture: Sandrine, Irene, Esther and Rebecca fill their jerry cans with putrid water from a polluted lake, in Kahi.

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