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Mariëlle Bruning: coronavirus measures and pressure on children’s rights

Children are suffering disproportionally from the coronavirus measures. They feel depressed more often compared to other age groups. But what about the legal perspective? Are children’s rights being violated?

Mariëlle Bruning

It is difficult to specify which children’s rights are being violated by the coronavirus measures, says Professor of Child Law Mariëlle Bruning in Dutch BNR radio programme Big Five. 'There’s a lot to consider, but I would say that the right to development and proper health care and protection at home are under severe pressure. Many children are suffering and I find that very worrying. Limits on social contacts, not going to school, eating disorders. We are currently seeing far more problems related to such things. Fifty percent of children are unhappy and that’s a very disturbing situation.’

The term ‘emotional neglect’ is often heard in relation to this. But what is it exactly? 'Every case is different’, says Bruning. The definition of the term in the Netherlands is very broad. It can mean that you are not stimulated at home to get up in the morning and get on with online lessons, but it can also mean that you have witnessed domestic violence. That is currently on the rise.' More and more children are calling the child helpline Kindertelefoon, says Bruning. 'A child will then never use the word ‘neglect’, they’ll say that things aren’t going so well at home. That tells us a lot.'

BNR Big Five broadcast (in Dutch).

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