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A powerful new UNICEF film featuring David has been released to illustrate the brutal reality that physical and psychological abuse can mark children forever.

In the film, scenes of violence against children appear as animated tattoos on his body. While David’s own tattoos were chosen to represent happy or important memories, millions of children bear marks they have not chosen: the long-lasting scars of violence and abuse. The animations in the film depict all too common forms of violence that boys and girls endure in spaces where they should be safe – their homes, schools, online and in their communities.

David said: “When I launched my 7 Fund with UNICEF, I made a commitment to do everything I can to make the world a safer place for children and to speak out on issues that are having a devastating impact on children’s lives. One of those issues is violence.

Every five minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies from violence. Millions more are in danger of physical, emotional and sexual abuse that could destroy their childhoods forever.

Last year I visited Cambodia with UNICEF where I met and listened to children tell me about terrible violence they have experienced. I was shocked by what I heard and I saw how violence can leave deep and lasting scars. No child should have to endure this. Yet in all corners of the world, in their homes, schools and on their streets, children are suffering similar violence. I hope this new project will draw attention to this urgent issue and inspire action. Violence against children is wrong and together we need to end it.”

Using U-report, a messaging tool that allows young people to report on issues affecting their lives, David invited youth to answer questions on violence against children.

More than 190,000 “U-Reporters” from 22 countries responded. Two-thirds of them said that they have personally experienced physical or verbal abuse or know somebody else who has. When asked who they think commits violence most often, one-third said police or law enforcement, 29 per cent said their peers, 28 per cent said a parent or caregiver and 9 per cent said teachers.

But violence is not inevitable. UNICEF points to seven proven strategies that can help end violence against children. These include strengthening attitudes that support non-violence; enforcing laws; creating safe environments for children; supporting parents and caregivers; increasing family incomes to reduce poverty; strengthening social services and equipping children with life-skills.

David and UNICEF are urging people to share the new film on social media platforms.