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  • Barrio in Bucaramanda Colombia

    Barrio in Bucaramanda Colombia | Photo: Flickr

Published 23 July 2019
Opinion

Colombia faces a number of issues in child welfare, abuse and malnutrition are among the most urgent. 

A report released Monday by the Colombian Ministry of Health showed that around 42 percent of young people have experienced some form of abuse while revealing shocking rates of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

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The study showed that around a third of young people in Colombia have suffered violence at home, with a third also witnessing domestic violence. Another 15 percent say they have suffered psychological abuse at home.

The figures on sexual violence were also very high, 15 percent of girls and 7 percent of boys reported being a victim of sexual violence, with 72 percent of sexual abuse incidents happening at home. An alarming figure in the report, that reveals the severity of these statistics, is that every 20 minutes a child in Colombia suffers sexual abuse.

Ivan Dario Gonzalez, the deputy health minister, outlined the consequences of the abuse detailed in the report, saying, “Stress, self-harm behaviors and suicidal ideas are common in victims of this type of violence. In the same way, the survey indicates that there is a high problem of alcohol, both among adults and minors ”

The report also reveals how Colombia faces a number of issues in child welfare. One in 10 children suffer chronic malnutrition and 25 percent have anemia.

The issue of child abuse is also part of the wider problem of violence in Colombia. A recent U.N. report showed that the country has one of the highest homicide rates in the region, at around 30 murders per 100,000 people, whereas others, such as Bolivia, Peru and Nicaragua scored below 10. 

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