UNICEF Urges Louder Voices to End Violence against Children

UNICEF Ambassador Liam Neeson and Univision News Anchors Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas film PSAs to support new initiative. Violence against children is all too often unseen, unheard and underreported, said UNICEF today, announcing an initiative that urges citizens, lawmakers and governments to speak out more forcefully to protect children.

UNICEF Ambassador Liam Neeson and Univision News Anchors Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas film PSAs to support new initiative

NEW YORK (July 31, 2013) – Violence against children is all too often unseen, unheard and underreported, said UNICEF today, announcing an initiative that urges citizens, lawmakers and governments to speak out more forcefully to protect children.

The initiative builds on growing outrage following horrific attacks against children, such as the October 2012 shooting of then 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan, the fatal shooting of 26 pupils and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 and gang rapes of girls in India and in South Africa in 2013.

“In every country, in every culture, there is violence against children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Whenever and wherever children are harmed, our outrage and anger must be seen and heard. We must make the invisible visible.”

This is the underlying message as UNICEF launches the End Violence Against Children initiative. The initiative urges people around the world to recognize violence against children and join global, national or local movements to focus collective action on ending it. We have the power to fight violence now, says UNICEF, as the organization brings its global voice to add to the many efforts already underway.

The initiative was unveiled with a powerful public service announcement narrated in English by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson, and in Spanish by Univision News anchors Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas. The narrators lead the viewer through a series of scenes depicting violence.

“This is a 15-year-old girl being gang raped,” says the narrator as the camera pans across an abandoned lot. “This teacher is beating a boy for talking back in class, while the rest of the class watches,” the narrator states as new scenes unfold.

The English-language version of the PSA featuring Liam Neeson will air in the United States on Investigation Discovery and the Military Channel.

Univision has produced 30- and 60-second Spanish-language versions of the spot featuring anchors Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas. The PSAs will broadcast across all Univision Networks and will also be posted on UnivisionNoticias.com. This is the first time UNICEF has an exclusive partnership with a Spanish-language media outlet in the United States on a PSA.

“We are honored to be the first and only Spanish-language media outlet to partner with UNICEF on a project of this nature,” said Isaac Lee, President of News, Univision Communications Inc. “This campaign aims to create awareness and encourage prevention of violence against children, an issue that is of great importance both to Univision and to the Hispanic community.”

The need to take urgent collective action is underlined even by the limited statistics available, which point to the scale and extent of violence. For example, approximately 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 years have experienced sexual violence and exploitation, according to the WHO, and an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked every year, according to a 2005 ILO report.

Violence inflicts not only physical wounds but leaves mental scars on children. It affects their physical and mental health, compromises their ability to learn and socialize and undermines their development.

A microsite and a social media guide outlines ways for children, parents and communities to take action – such as getting informed and involved, organizing events and public discussion forums, supporting child victims of violence and working with global and local UNICEF partners. For more information visit: unicefusa.org/endviolence.

Protecting children is at the heart of UNICEF’s mandate. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that every child has the right to be protected from all forms of violence.

The public service announcements with Liam Neeson are available for viewing here:
30 seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SDtt0AVygs
60 seconds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUORZj-81Dw

The announcements with Univision News anchors Jorge Ramos and María Elenas Salinas are available for viewing here:
30 seconds (Jorge Ramos): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YLPInla4tc
30 seconds (María Elena Salinas): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNMMgT-1JPI
60 seconds (Jorge Ramos): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8AYjfHmWcc
60 seconds (María Elena Salinas): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW_LXt0oUd0

About UNICEF

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, kschoop@unicefusa.org