Latin America needs cultural and social changes to stem violence against children, experts from international organizations agreed here Monday.
A five-day conference in Montevideo brings together specialists from the Organization of American States and UNICEF to discuss how to meet the U.N. Sustainable Development goal of ending all violence against children and adolescents by 2030.
People in Latin America “say one thing and do something else when it comes to children,” the head of the OAS Inter-American Children’s Institute, Victor Giorgi, told EFE.
While one hears a lot of talk about “love and the care of children,” one also perceives “very strong pressure” in the direction of controlling and disciplining youngsters, he said.
“The adult thinks that if he renounces violence he loses authority … we feel we have no other resources to discipline children than exercising violence, which can be physical, but can also be psychological or symbolic,” Giorgi said.
As for the role of government, he said that though most countries have legislation about violence against children, there is a need for cultural and social change because “the law alone is not enough.”