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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL - Children, invisible victims of confinement (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sat, 9 May 2020 10:23:34 +0300

The living conditions of the children have been considerably impacted by confinement, without them being able to testify about their impressions, their feelings, and often without being able to communicate with other people of their age about their experiences. Outside the radars of the detections of violence, relegated to the background of state aid, subjected even more than usual to adult authority, children are isolated and little taken into account in this health crisis. However, the consequences of confinement on children are very real. ---- With confinement, children stay with their families permanently and are a source of frustration for parents, which creates a climate of high tension. We can measure it through the most crude mockery and jokes about the torture of children, the more violent speech against them than usual in discussions between colleagues or on social networks. These tensions are reflected in an increase in violence against children who become the victims of confinement.

The difficulties caused by children are directly linked to their specific needs which cannot be met, particularly in terms of access to the outside world or physical activity. The size of the dwellings, the number of inhabitants, access to a garden or courtyard, or if systematic and violent police checks prohibit their access to the outside, greatly influence the experience of confinement. The various situations are indicative of economic and racist inequalities.

It should also be noted that the loss of relationships with peers, especially for the youngest children, can be very serious for many children cut off from their social life.

Pedagogical continuity is not educational for everyone
By deciding to establish " pedagogical continuity ", Jean-Michel Blanquer relied mainly on digital resources, requesting an adaptation at a moment's notice from teachers, parents and students. The latter and the latter do not always have access to speech and do not have a contact person to whom they can report their possible difficulties. However, confinement and pseudo pedagogical continuity bring out the class inequalities between children. The digital divide is very real and makes some children unable to have access to lessons due to the lack of internet access. The transfer of supervision from teachers to parents is also a factor of exclusion and inequality, since parents continue to work outside the home or work from home, and many of them do not speak French well enough. .

Home school is also an additional stressor for parents, increasing the risk of violence against children. Added to this is that for many girls, they are required to participate in domestic work such as preparing food, cleaning and educating little brothers and sisters, which further increases gender inequalities.

An increase in violence
Domestic violence has increased sharply since the start of confinement. This obviously concerns domestic violence against women , but also violence against children, the two being also strongly correlated.

Locked up with their families, children no longer have any possible avoidance strategy in the face of violence, whether physical, psychological or sexual. The professionals of National Education and early childhood structures who are, in normal times, the first informers of protection services, but also sports coaches, staff of extra-curricular activities, no longer have any visibility on the children, who are therefore deprived of all observation and outside help. In fact, the calls to 119, " Allô childhood in danger ", Have increased continuously every week since the start of confinement, alarming UNICEF and NousToutes, which launched the #EntendonsLeursCris campaign on domestic violence. In the third week of confinement, these calls increased to + 53 % compared to the first week. Pending the possible count of all the victims, the number of urgent calls to 119, including those requiring immediate police intervention, exploded by + 60 % compared to the same period in 2019.

LGBTI girls and children are singularly affected by this domestic violence [1], no measures were taken against them during the period while feminist and community associations saw their activity reduced by confinement.

Violence against children necessarily underestimated
A system for reporting such violence on the internet has also been put in place to meet the needs of children who cannot isolate themselves with telephone access. Obviously, many girls and boys who are subjected to this violence do not have access to the internet, and child protection professionals fear the tally that will have to be made after confinement. Today, it is estimated that 52,000 children are victims of physical, sexual and psychological violence daily in France. Locked up with their executioners, invisible behind the walls, several children have already died since the start of confinement. Others have been homeless by their parents.

Child protection and confinement, the impossible equation
Many associations closed during confinement, making child welfare journeys sometimes very complicated to set up. Child protection professionals were not even considered a priority for the distribution of masks and hydroalcoholic solutions, asking them to sometimes intervene in defiance of their own health. Of the 350,000 children affected today by child protection services, more than 80,000 are today placed in homes or self-contained accommodation. The difficulties are exacerbated in confinement there, and effective-as well as the lack of financial means already shouting in normal times, make the explosive situation for children as their educator-ices [2].

We think it is important to consider children as subjects in their own right with their own needs. In addition to the need, like everything for everyone, to sleep, drink, eat, etc., children also need to communicate, learn, explore, benefit from a secure and emotional environment, be appreciated and respected. The impact of this confinement on children is not trivial as their rights and basic needs are violated. This situation should allow us to strengthen our attention and our listening, and not to make children the scapegoats of a situation that nobody has chosen.

Libertarian Communist Union, May 3, 2020.


[1] Defender of rights, Study on domestic violence: girls and young lgbt are the most affected , 24/04/20.

[2] Liberation forum, Refuse that child protection is sacrificed in the fight against the pandemic , 23/04/20.

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