Syria’s children at risk of never fully recovering, new study finds
As Syria’s complex and dire conflict rages into year eight, at what point will daily stress factors become too much for children, and have an irreversible impact on their long-term emotional and physical well-being?
World Vision spoke to more than 1,200 Syrian children, in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, to find out. The results are revealed in a new report released today.
“Syria’s children are living in the midst of the most significant humanitarian protection crisis in living memory. We are failing to protect their lives, their childhoods and their futures,” says Wynn Flaten, World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response Director.
“While their survival is and should be everyone’s priority, we need to go beyond just keeping them alive. It is imperative that they are able to lead happy, healthy and productive lives after Syria. All children deserve to feel safe and free.”
More than 5.5 million Syrians have fled the country, half of them are children. Another six million have left their homes in search of safer spaces inside Syria, according to the UN.
World Vision’s report, Beyond Survival, illustrates how the conflict has dramatically altered children’s living environments and social structures.
“Children told us of moving to new places, living in confined spaces, attending different schools, not going to school at all and missing family members and friends who were once part of their lives,” says Flaten.
The survey found that in Syria, 50 per cent of children have experienced domestic violence. In Lebanon, 39 per cent and in Jordan 15 per cent of children surveyed talked of violent discipline in the home. Overcrowded housing is prevalent in all three countries, affecting over 70 per cent of the children surveyed. These children are twice as likely to experience violence at home. “These are the very places children should be and feel most safe,” says Flaten. “Instead, children are not only experiencing their own stress but are also often bearing the brunt of family stress.”
In March, World Vision Australia travelled to the Beqaa Valley with Kabul-based war photographer Andrew Quilty and VICE journalist Maddison Connaughton. Maddison is available for interview.
Andrew’s photo essay is available at this link: https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/8xdzyb/what-its-like-to-turn-18-in-a-syrian-refugee-cam
The video report by VICE can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/VICEAustralia/videos/778097689055502/
World Vision contact: Ruth Lamperd, 0417 765 947
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