NEW Global Survey Reveals Children Around the World Feel Unsafe; Canadian Adults Perceive Kids' Reality Differently

Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC), a member of ChildFund Alliance,
Calls on All Nations to Keep Children Free from Violence

TORONTO, Nov. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Childhood should be a time of carefree innocence, free from violence. Sadly, this is not the reality for many children around the world.

According to the 2015 Small Voices, Big Dreams (SVBD) international survey of nearly 6,000 children — conducted by ChildFund Alliance — 42 percent of children globally do not feel safe at home or at school. In Canada, an astounding 64 percent of kids do not feel safe at school, while 30 percent feel the same about home.

This is a stark contrast to the views of adults in our country. A Canadian-specific omnibus survey conducted by Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) found that only 12 percent of adults think children may be unsafe at school and eight percent feel children may be unsafe at home. 

Safety Online a Concern for Children and Parents
The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey also found 63 percent of children from developed countries feel they are at risk of being emotionally abused or mistreated online. This is consistent with Canadian children's fears in this area; Canadian adults agree, with 70 percent saying the Internet poses a safety concern. 

When it comes to keeping them safe, one in five children from developing countries believe education is the key. This number drops to one in 10 for Canadian kids. Instead, 45 percent of Canadian children would turn to law enforcement to make a difference — whether that's strengthening laws or ensuring abusers are punished. This reinforces the increased need for laws pertaining to child protection.

More than a quarter of kids globally think parents can keep children safe by loving them more. 

Christian Children's Fund of Canada is deeply concerned about the SVBD survey findings and is calling on the Canadian government, businesses and citizens to help find solutions by joining the conversation at #FreeFromViolence.

It's Up to Us to Keep Children #FreeFromViolence
"Children mirror the society in which they live," says Mark Lukowski, Chief Executive Officer, Christian Children's Fund of Canada. "Whether it's perception or reality, our world seems uncertain and unsafe to the young. Children are expressing real concerns about their safety and want all of us to address the violence they face. That's why we are calling on Canadians to share ideas and join the conversation using the hashtag #FreeFromViolence."

Listening to Small Voices; Fulfilling Big Dreams
The sixth-annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey provides a comprehensive look at children's views on safety, violence and their rights. This year, nearly 6,000 10-to-12-year-olds in 44 countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific, were asked for their views on issues that affect them. 

Among the findings, the survey found one-third of children in developing countries say adults can keep children safe by loving them more — a basic need we all have the responsibility to meet.

Although children in developed countries report feeling more loved, they don't believe adults listen to them enough. This includes one-third of all Canadian children. On the flip side, almost one-third of Canadian adults say listening to kids will help keep them safe, with an astounding 92 percent even stating this is the one of the most effective ways to help. 

Globally, 17 percent of boys said they would protect or stand up for someone of the opposite gender to keep them safe, while 17 percent of girls said they would discourage bad behaviour by voicing their concern. In developed countries, 24 percent of boys say they would protect others and 24 percent of girls say they would tell another person if someone was being harmed. Only 15 percent of children globally would tell an adult, teacher or caregiver that a child of the opposite gender needs protection from harm. This number rises slightly in Canada to 26 percent.

A Global Wake-Up Call
"We hope the survey results act as a wake-up call to countries around the world to keep children #FreeFromViolence," adds Lukowski. "Obviously, we have a long way to go in helping children feel safe and loved. We must acknowledge their voices and their fears so we can help them fulfill their dreams within a safe and supportive global community."



  • There is a disconnect in the findings between Canadian children and adults. In the Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, 32 percent of kids in Canada said they believe being with friends can be unsafe, while only eight percent of adult respondents from the omnibus survey flagged this as a concern. Canadian kids were overwhelmingly concerned about walking alone, at 77 percent, while only 40 percent of adults listed that as the most unsafe situation. In comparison, 58 percent of children globally were concerned about walking in places where they are alone (that translates to 55 percent in developing countries compared to 68 percent in developed countries).
  • Forty-six percent of respondents in developing countries answered that children may be at risk from harm "at home," compared with 28 percent in developed countries. That number skyrockets to 94 percent in Togo and 91 percent in Ghana.
  • In developed countries, 63 percent of respondents said children may be at risk from harm "online," compared to 84 percent of respondents in Sweden alone. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of children in developing countries worry about online safety.
  • Globally, 38 percent of kids think adults mistreat children because they have the power to do so. In developed countries, children also think mistreatment is a form of punishment (43 percent compared with 59 percent of Canadian kids), and because the adults were victims of abuse themselves (43 percent).


Knowledge is Power

  • There is an urgent need to build a safer school environment, as 42 percent of children said school is a place where they may be at risk of physical or emotional mistreatment, globally not feeling safe at school. This number climbs to 64 percent in Canada.  
  • As world leaders, 22 percent of children in the developing world would choose to educate children by building schools, by increasing enrolment and reducing school fees to make children safer.


All You Need Is Love

  • When asked, "What's the most important thing adults — especially parents and caregivers — could do to keep children safer from being mistreated?" the leading global answer was "Love children more" at 26 percent.
  • The top answer for how adults can keep children safe from harm in the developed world was to "Listen to what children have to say" at 30 percent. 
  • Thirty-one percent of children in developing countries say the most important thing parents/caregivers can do to keep children safe is to love children more. This slides to seven percent of Canadian children and 11 percent of Canadian adults who agree love is the answer. 


Hope for the Future

  • Children in both developed and developing countries would like to see those who abuse them be punished/sent to jail. Twenty-four percent of respondents chose law/punishment as the principal change they would make to help keep children safe if they were a world leader.
  • Twenty-one percent of Canadian children believe punishing people who harm children would help keep kids safe, and adults agree at 22 percent. 
  • Canadian children and adults also agree that reporting child abuse cases to the police will help keep kids safe at 16 and 17 percent respectively. 


"While Canadian children and parents generally agree on solutions, there is a wide gap in their perception of children's safety. Despite what Canadian adults think, our kids do not feel safe in many environments," says Terrance Slobodian, vice-president, Fund Development and Communications, Christian Children's Fund of Canada. "It's a different world from when we grew up, and we need to enact change so children today feel nurtured and valued. Please join the conversation and help find solutions at #FreeFromViolence." 

To download the full report, visit

Resources for download:











Burkina Faso





Dominica & St. Vincent








El Salvador









Sri Lanka

New Zealand




South Korea





Sierra Leone



The Gambia





*Japan's data is not reflected in the total respondents. A total of 126
children from Japan participated in the study.

About the Small Voices, Big Dreams Survey
The Small Voices, Big Dreams survey was commissioned by the ChildFund Alliance in May 2015. The survey was conducted in 44 countries with children aged 10 to 12. This included 33 developing nations in Africa, Asia and the Americas as well as 11 developed countries. A total of 5,805* children were surveyed — 3,773 children in developing countries and 2,032 children in developed nations.

Three of the six questions were open-ended, meaning the children were not given a list of answers to choose from. The three remaining questions were multiple choice. All translated responses were provided to global research company GfK to process the data. Code frames were developed by GfK Roper's global research team and approved by ChildFund. The data was then compiled, coded and tabulated by GfK Roper.

About ChildFund Alliance
ChildFund Alliance is a network of 12 child-focused development organizations working in 58 countries around the world. With an annual turnover of more than $500 million, ChildFund Alliance helps an estimated 15 million children and their families to overcome poverty.

About Christian Children's Fund of Canada
Christian Children's Fund of Canada is a child-focused international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance. CCFC supports children and communities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay. Currently, CCFC has more than 50,000 children sponsored, benefiting approximately 500,000 people around the world.

About GfK Roper
GfK is one of the world's largest research companies, with more than 11,000 experts working to discover new insights about the way people live, think and shop, in more than 100 markets, every day.

GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications is a division of GfK. The group specializes in customized public affairs and public opinion polling, media and corporate communications research, and reputation measurement in the U.S. and globally. The division also serves as the official polling partner of the Associated Press conducting the AP-GfK Poll (

SOURCE Christian Children's Fund of Canada

For further information: For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: John Bowes, Strategic Objectives, (416) 366-7735, ext. 246,; Bonar Bell, Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC), (905) 754-1001, ext. 221,


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