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BACKGROUND: The climate crisis is the biggest threat to the health, development, and wellbeing of the current and future generations. While there is extensive evidence on the direct impacts of climate change on human livelihood, there is little evidence on how children and young people are affected, and even less discussion and evidence on how the climate crisis could affect violence against children. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: In this commentary, we review selected research to assess the links between the climate crisis and violence against children. METHODS: We employ a social-ecological perspective as an overarching framework to organize findings from the literature and call attention to increased violence against children as a specific, yet under-examined, direct and indirect consequence of the climate crisis. RESULTS: Using such a perspective, we examine how the climate crisis exacerbates the risk of violence against children at the continually intersecting and interacting levels of society, community, family, and the individual levels. We propose increased risk of armed conflict, forced displacement, poverty, income inequality, disruptions in critical health and social services, and mental health problems as key mechanisms linking the climate crisis and heightened risk of violence against children. Furthermore, we posit that the climate crisis serves as a threat multiplier, compounding existing vulnerabilities and inequities within populations and having harsher consequences in settings, communities, households, and for children already experiencing adversities. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude with a call for urgent efforts from researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to further investigate the specific empirical links between the climate crisis and violence against children and to design, test, implement, fund, and scale evidence-based, rights-based, and child friendly prevention, support, and response strategies to address violence against children.

Original publication




Journal article


Child Abuse Negl

Publication Date



Climate change, Climate crisis, Social-ecological perspective, Violence against children