#ENDviolence campaign at the fore

Japan and France support #ENDviolence ahead of their semi final clash. FIFA via Getty Images

The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea does not only showcase the best young female footballers in the world, it also provides a crucial platform for the #ENDviolence campaign focussed on ending violence towards women and children.

The initiative forms part of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup sustainability programme and sets out to develop respect, understanding and tolerance among girls and boys, women and men and the community as a whole, with the overall goal of reducing risk factors associated with gender-based violence in the Pacific.

Both semi-final duels on Tuesday paid tribute to the campaign as the captains of each team read out a statement in their native language before kick-off to denounce violence against women and children. All of the players and match officials then gathered for a group photo behind a banner bearing the #ENDviolence hashtag.

Studies indicate that the physical, emotional and monetary costs of abuse are massive. Within the Pacific region, around 80 per cent of children have experienced some form of direct violence or abuse. Evidence shows that 57 per cent of women in the South Pacific have been violently harmed by their partner, and that a girl who witnesses the abuse of her mother is more likely to become a victim of violence herself when she grows up.

Over 50 per cent of children aged 13-15 years reports being bullied, with 30 per cent reporting an attempt to commit suicide in the past 12 months.

A recent UNICEF report said: “Violence against women is widely condemned as a fundamental violation of human rights and is recognised as a significant public health problem, causing enormous social harm and costs to national economies.”

In addition to affecting women, violence also has a detrimental impact on children. Globally violence against children costs up to USD 7 trillion dollars. At this cost, violence against women and children can significantly impede a nation’s efforts, crippling key members of society.

In an area of the world were access to information is restricted by poor internet, television and radio penetration, the #ENDviolence campaign seeks to create awareness, create sporting champions who will speak up against violence and support broader community awareness on violence towards women and children throughout the region.

FIFA, in partnership with Oceania Football Confederation, UNICEF, UN Women, the Urban Youth Employment Project, the Australian High Commission and the US Embassy in Port Moresby focused on a series of key activities during the tournament with the overall aim of leaving an enduring and tangible legacy.

Story courtesy of FIFA. For more on the world game visit www.fifa.com

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