How students in Thailand are addressing child violence

In Thailand’s mountainous Chiang Rai Province, students are working together to end child violence.

As part of a StarKids-funded program, Thai and ethnic minority students aged 10-12 came together to brainstorm ways to promote child protection. Their idea? Spread the word.

Sixth-grader Chart suggested displaying posters in schools and organising awareness-building activities on Thailand National Children’s Day to help stop children becoming victims of violence.

In 2013, the Ministry of Public Health reported more than 19,000 children – around 52 a day – treated in hospitals due to physical and sexual abuse. More than 50 percent of children in Thailand have experienced violent punishment by parents, caretakers or teachers.

To engage students during the discussion, images were used to raise issues facing their communities. One picture showed a young girl with a pregnancy test.

“In the picture, what is this girl holding?” asked a staff member. The children discussed potential consequences of early pregnancy, such as complications caused through abortion or the struggles facing teen mothers.

Brochures were also given to students with information around child violence, whether physical, emotional or sexual. Children were taught about the four basic rights of children: the right to survival; the right to protection; the right to development; and the right to participation.

One girl, sixth-grader Mue, shared two pictures she’d drawn to depict joy and violence in her community. For her, joy is a family living together and loving each other. Violence is shown as a married couple quarrelling.

StarKids is actively supporting Thailand’s End Violence Against Children campaign, which addresses all forms of violence against children, including neglect. The campaign promotes reporting abuse through the hotline 1300, which also has standby interpreters for migrants.