A socioecological approach to children’s experiences of violence: Evidence from Young Lives

Kirrily Pells, Virginia Morrow, M. Catherine Maternowska & Alina Potts - Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies: An International Interdisciplinary Journal for Research, Policy and Care


The scale and extent of violence towards children in different settings is increasingly well documented. However, few studies have attempted to draw on children’s perspectives to understand the linkages between forms of violence, as well as the factors that contribute to, and sustain, violence. We draw together findings from a collaborative project between UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti and Young Lives, a 15-year longitudinal cohort study of children growing up in poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. This paper highlights findings relating to (1) the importance of understanding the contexts of children’s lives in relation to violence, (2) the ways in which violence is often underpinned by poverty that places pressure on families and communities, (3) the ways in which violence reflects and reinforces social norms and (4) how children’s experiences and their responses to violence are shaped by intersecting inequalities according to age, gender and the wider social and economic context.