Fears about Child Safety are Misplaced, New Global Study Finds

London, ENGLAND (December 3, 2014) — The places where people think their children are most in danger are not the ones they should be most scared about, finds a new report released today (PDF).

Fearing Wrong (PDF), by research company Ipsos Reid and international aid agency World Vision, also reveals that people around the world think violence is a common, growing and under-reported problem, yet one that is still surrounded in misperception and misunderstanding.

“Violence against children is the most pervasive, dangerous, silent horror of our time,” says report lead Dr. Kirsty Nowlan, director of public policy for World Vision International. “It is shrouded in misunderstandings and misperceptions — and it’s holding back progress on this issue.”

The survey of 11,331 people aged 16 and over in 28 countries found that the majority (61 percent) of people think that “out there” — public transportation and other public places — is where children are most likely to be at risk.

“Tragically, this is wrong. The most dangerous place for too many children around the world is their own home, where they should be safest,” says Dr. Nowlan.

The survey revealed that more than three quarters of people around the world know of a child victim of violence, and three in five say violence against children in their country has increased over the past five years.

“Perhaps most worryingly is that the vast majority of people — 79 percent — feel that most violence against children goes unreported, which is one of the things we should be most scared about,” says Dr. Nowlan. “The true extent of this problem, and its solutions, are still relatively unknown.”

The survey was conducted for exactly this reason, says Dr. Nowlan. “Understanding why the problem continues, who is perpetrating it, and where the time, effort and funding of governments and organizations needs to go, are all key to ending violence against children. This survey takes us another step further along that process.”

Despite the worrying findings of the survey, there is cause for hope.

“Less than half (45 percent) of people feel that enough is being done to prevent violence against children, but most (79 percent) still believe that it can be significantly reduced and eventually eliminated. World Vision believes the same and the report sets out a number of recommendations for people working to combat violence against children around the world.

“This global tragedy ruins too many children’s lives, and we believe ending violence against children is not easy, but it is possible. And as world leaders continue the process of deciding what happens after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015, now is a particularly important time to be considering this,” says Dr. Nowlan.

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Tweetable: 3 in 4 ppl know a victim of child violence @WorldVision @Ipsos study finds: ow.ly/FhKkq #FearingWrong #EndViolenceAgainstChildren

For more information visit www.wvi.org/fearingwrong. To schedule an interview, please contact Laura Blank (+1.646.245.2496).

About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.


  • Children more at risk at home than anywhere, but “out there” is still seen as the most dangerous place.
  • New global study in 28 countries sheds lights on myths that get in the way of solutions.


Download Press Release (pdf)