The third report of Save the Children's Stop the War on Children campaign reveals shocking trends in the threats to the safety and wellbeing of children living in areas impacted by conflict. While fewer children are living in conflict-affected areas, those who do face the greatest risk of falling victim to serious violence since systematic records began. This report delves into the differences between boys’ and girls’ experiences through a gendered analysis of the six grave violations of children in conflict: (1) Killing and maiming of children, (2) Recruitment and use of children by armed forces or armed groups, (3) Abduction of children, (4) Rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, (5) Attacks on schools or hospitals, and (6) Denial of humanitarian access.
A common understanding of conflict violations focuses on those violations that occur in public spaces, such as the street or out in the community, and are more likely to be experienced by boys, such as killing and maiming. By their very nature, these violations are easier to verify than violations that take place in private spaces, such as the home, which are more commonly experienced by girls. These violations include sexual violence and early/forced child marriage; not easily or often recorded, these violations often go unseen or ignored. Furthermore, the experiences of children with diverse gender identities are not represented at all.
Stop the War on Children 2020: Gender matters, calls for state and humanitarian actors to recognize and respond to the needs of boys, girls, and children of diverse gender identities in conflicts settings by:
- Financially and diplomatically supporting the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict to ensure that data collection through the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism is sex-disaggregated
- Increase multi-year investment in humanitarian child protection with the aim of growing its proportion of total humanitarian funding from 0.5% to 4%, including substantially increasing funding for both mainstreamed and targeted interventions on gender in humanitarian settings
- Ensure meaningful participation for children in responses and programmes, and when possible always disaggregate target beneficiaries by age, sex, and disability, and tailor responses accordingly
The report makes reference to the vulnerabilities faced by girl heads of household or unaccompanied and separated girls on the move and calls for interventions such as family tracing and reunification, the provision of alternative care for unaccompanied and separated children, and the release and reintegration of children associated with armed forces and armed groups.
Read the West and Central Africa brief here.