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Childhood abuse in the East Asia and Pacific region costs more than $200 billion a year

Posted November 12, 2016

As sad as it sounds, in many places around the world childhood violence is still fully tolerated. Not only it is viewed as embedded in long history of local culture, but it is also seen as beneficial. Now scientists from University of Edinburgh say that there is an actual cost to the childhood violence – the East Asia and Pacific region loses more than $200 billion because of this reason.

Healthy and safe childhood is one of the best ways to ensure healthy and safe society of the future. Image credit: Xmastree via Wikimedia, Public Domain

Healthy and safe childhood is one of the best ways to ensure healthy and safe society of the future. Image credit: Xmastree via Wikimedia, Public Domain

The number may not look that big considering the peculiarities of the region. However, it is nearly two per cent of the area’s Gross Domestic Product, which is a tremendous waste of potential growth and economic power. What else prevention of childhood violence would bring? It could bring such benefits as reduction of teenage pregnancy by a quarter, illicit drug use by 17 %, early smoking by 21 %, and alcohol-related problems by another 10. There really is no excuse to tolerating children abuse, because it is damaging society as a whole.

Scientists say that reducing childhood violence would also help protecting women, because children would grow up without this idea embedded in them and would be less likely to participate in domestic violence. But why does it cost so much money? In simple terms, it is lost potential. Children, who are beaten at early days, suffer from poor brain development, impaired learning skills, behavioural problems, and social incompetence and so on. All of it costs health, educational, judicial and social services of these countries lots of money.

And so, scientists calculated that total economic loss for the whole region is $206 billion a yearDr Deborah Fry, author of the report, said: “These findings show that if there is one investment governments can make that might have the greatest impact on society, it would be to invest in preventing violence against children which has a profound impact not only on individuals but also families and communities”. What has to be done? Social acceptance of childhood violence has to be challenged and fall out of the norms of society. It cannot be considered a normal practice anymore. Also, children should be provided with a safe space in order to escape home where they are abused.

This report is extremely good example that everything counts. The trash you throw on the sidewalk will cost economy some money, because someone will have to get paid to pick it up and recycle. Children, beaten by their own family, struggle becoming productive members of society and usually cost money instead of creating value.


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