BEIRUT — One in two children in Lebanon is at serious risk of physical, emotional or sexual violence as families struggle to cope in the country’s deepening economic crisis, according report published Friday by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Here’s what we know:
• The report, which was released as part of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence Against Children Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid’s visit to Lebanon, also indicated that the number of cases of child abuse and exploitation handled by UNICEF and its partners shot up by almost half (44 percent) between October 2020 and October 2021, from 3,913 cases to 5,621 cases.
• “Lebanon’s crisis threatens the present and the future of millions of children. Ensuring their protection from abuse, harm and violence and safeguarding their rights are needed more than ever,” M’jid emphasized at a press conference Friday.
• The report also outlined a series of threats to children’s safety, including a rise in child labor, domestic violence, mental health issues and early marriages for young girls.
• Growing numbers of children are coming into contact with the criminal justice system after participating in protests, falling victim to violence or being pushed into crime as a means to survive, the UN report also indicated.