Education & Family

David Beckham tattoos come to life for child abuse campaign

Animated tattoos Image copyright Unicef
Image caption Animated tattoos come to life to illustrate the long-lasting harm caused by violence against children

David Beckham's tattoos have taken on a life of their own in a Unicef film highlighting physical and psychological abuse that can leave lasting marks.

In the one-minute film, scenes of violence against children appear as animated tattoos on the former footballer's body.

David Beckham, now a Unicef goodwill ambassador, said he had been shocked by children's accounts of violence.

He is urging people to share the film on social media.

Meaningful marks

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Beckham, 41, said his real tattoos represented happy or important memories, but the film was highlighting the fact millions of children bore marks they had not chosen - the long-lasting scars of violence and abuse.

The animations in the film depict forms of violence that children endure in places where they should be safe, such as their homes, schools, online and in their communities.

The father of four, said he was committed to doing "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," he said.

"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."

On a trip to Cambodia last year with Unicef, he heard children's first-hand accounts of the violence they had suffered.

"I was shocked by what I heard, and I saw how violence can leave deep and lasting scars," he said.

"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."

Image copyright Unicef
Image caption David Beckham became a Unicef goodwill ambassador in 2005

Two-thirds of 190,000 children and young people around the world who responded to a Unicef call for information via its online U-report tool, said they had personally experienced physical or verbal abuse or knew someone else who had.

The responses suggested the biggest perpetrators were:

  • police and other law enforcers (33%)
  • other children and young people (29%)
  • parents or care givers (28%)
  • teachers (9%)

The campaign promotes a series of strategies to end violence against children, including:

  • changing attitudes
  • enforcing laws
  • increasing family incomes to reduce poverty
  • strengthening social services

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