CAPE TOWN, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Monday released a new film in Pretoria to highlight the urgent need to end violence against children.
The 60-second film features football star David Beckham as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who illustrates the brutal reality that physical and psychological abuse can mark children forever.
During the film, scenes of violence against children appear as animated tattoos on Beckham's body. While Beckham's own tattoos were marks 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.
From Monday, the South African television channel, SuperSport, a partner of UNICEF South Africa, will be broadcasting the short film for a two-month period to 10 million families throughout Africa.
Beckham said that when he launched his 7 Fund with UNICEF in 2015, he made a commitment to do everything he 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, while millions more are in danger of physical, emotional and sexual abuse that could destroy their childhoods forever, UN figures show.
Last year Beckham visited Cambodia where he met and listened to children about terrible violence they have experienced.
Beckham said: "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, Beckham 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 percent said their peers, 28 percent said a parent or caregiver and nine percent said teachers.
Approximately 80,000 U-Reporters provided suggestions on what can be done to address violence in their communities.
A 24-year old U-Reporter from the Philippines said, "I will let my voice be heard and warn all people around me on what is happening, and ask for someone's help to end it if I cannot do it alone."
The tragic consequences of violence affect all aspects of a child's life and can be passed down from one generation to the next, UNICEF said in a press release.
Violence against children carries serious costs to all societies in every region of the world, UNICEF said.
"Violence and abuse take a terrible toll on children's lives and futures -- harming their bodies, undermining their emotional wellbeing, even interfering with the healthy development of their brains," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.
"When we protect children from violence, we prevent individual tragedies -- and promote stronger, more stable societies," Lake said.
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.
Beckham and UNICEF urged people to share the new film on social media platforms.