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Violence remains part of life for many Swiss children

A majority of children (85%) nevertheless said they felt safe at school. Keystone / Francesca Agosta

A third of Swiss children say they are on the receiving end of physical violence at school, while almost the same amount report violence at home.

This content was published on May 19, 2021 - 12:48
Keystone-SDA/dos

The numbers come from a survey of 1,700 people aged nine to 17 in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, carried out by UNICEF, the United Nation’s child rights body.

UNICEF reported that 32% of the respondents said they had experienced physical violence at school, while 42% reported psychological violence.

And while a majority of respondents nevertheless said they felt “safe” at school, 15% reported a general feeling of insecurity.

At home, 29% said they had suffered physical violence, while 24% reported psychological abuse by their parents. Children from materially poor situations were more likely to suffer, found the report which was published on Wednesday.

Discrimination

Some 41%, meanwhile, said they had been discriminated against – i.e. to have been left out or treated differently because of some characteristic. Poorer children, those of immigrant backgrounds, and girls were more likely to be affected by discrimination.

“The results of the study are both revealing and worrying,” said Bettina Junker, director general of UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Junker said in a statement that it was important not to forget that violence is a fact of life for many children, and for those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds even more so.

The survey also found that a considerable number of young people felt they could have more of a say in politics and decision-making. At school, 55% said it was a shame they could not be more involved in making decisions.

Almost one-third, meanwhile, said they did not have enough time during the week to rest and relax after the pressures of school.

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