Cost of Violence Against RI Children Still High: UNICEF

The Jakarta Post, page 3

While praising Indonesia’s initiative to insert child protection into its development agenda, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has urged President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to focus on preventive measure to better protect children in the country, a move that the agency says could save millions of rupiah.

The number of cases of violence against children in Indonesia increases from year to year, which according to studies may lead to health costs and other long-term consequences such as reduced productivity as adults.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo received Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Violence against Children Marta Santos Pais and a UNICEF delegation to discuss various children’s issues at the State Palace on Monday.

Data from the SRSG and UNICEF show that the cost of violence against children in Indonesia is estimated at US$20 billion per year and that sum could be reduced if the government would shift its focus to the prevention of violence against children.

After meeting with Jokowi, Pais told the reporters that every year the cost of violence against children in Indonesia is $20 billion, that’s very high and Indonesia wouldn’t have to have that cost if Gov’t invested in prevention.

Pais said the move by Indonesia to include children’s protection in its development agenda was a good one that should be followed by other countries in Asia and other parts of the world.

During the meeting, Pais also stressed that the number of child marriages in Indonesia was still too high and Jokowi’s government would need an extra effort to curb it, adding that 25 percent of girls in Indonesia got married before age of 18.

She said getting married at a young age resulted in increased maternal mortality rates in Indonesia among young mothers. Pais warned that the health of [young] mothers is affected and they may even die. The babies will also be at risk. Pais said girls who married would be unlikely to be given the chance to go back to school. She added the girls’ potential is undermined and the potential of the nation is also compromised.


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