As world leaders come together in New York to discuss the next set of global priorities, new research released today shows that physical, psychological and sexual violence perpetrated against children costs up to US$7 trillion a year.
The study, commissioned by ChildFund Alliance and conducted by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), reveals that the total costs of physical, psychological and sexual violence against children are up to 8 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is more than the GDPs of Australia, Canada, India, and Mexico combined.
This global estimate is based on previous research on the costs of violence against children in high- and middle-income countries. Researchers used these estimates to obtain a global life-time cost in terms of productivity loss for the total number of victims in a given year.
The study also estimates that the global costs of children forced to work in hazardous conditions, which deprives them of their childhood, amount to more than US$97 billion every year; and that the annual costs of children being recruited by armed forces and groups are US$144 million.
This research is adding to the weight of evidence that Governments need to ensure that violence against children is addressed in their new global agenda, which children around the world are calling for world leaders to do.
“This research clearly demonstrates that the cost of not acting on violence against children is far more expensive than preventing it – prevention pays” said Andrew Johnson, acting Secretary General of ChildFund Alliance. “It is vital that the post-2015 agenda addresses violence against children. Children themselves are calling for Governments to finish the job they started 15 years ago with the MDGs and for the prevention of violence to be included in the new agenda.”