24 Feb 2014

UNICEF warns Pacific nations on violence against children

7:54 am on 24 February 2014

The Pacific representative for United Nations child protection agency, Unicef, says efforts to combat violence against children are hampered by shame and denial over the issue.

Karen Allen has been with Unicef for 13 years but started her new role in the Pacific in mid-2013.

She has previously worked in such countries as Pakistan and Uganda.

Ms Allen says Unicef is working with governments to raise awareness of the issue of violence against children.

"It is a very sensitive area, especially when the violence against children gets into the area of sexual relations with children. People don't want to talk about it, there is a sense of shame or even denial so it is essential to take a very sensitive approach."

Karen Allen says some Pacific countries also need to update their child protection laws.