As the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescents are among those feeling the impact across many aspects of their lives.


Evidence on the impact of the pandemic on child protection outcomes for adolescents remains at an early stage, though experience suggests that times of crisis and social upheaval can leave children and adolescents vulnerable to violations of their rights.

Protection risks of particular concern to adolescents during this time include:

  • Exposure to intimate partner violence, either as a victim or a witness, during extended periods of confinement in the home
  • Exposure to violent discipline and abuse in the home
  • Exposure to inappropriate content and predatory behaviour online
  • Pressure to engage in hazardous or exploitative forms of work, resulting from economic strain
  • Heightened health risks for those living on the streets or in other crowded settings including in alternative care, where physical distancing and basic sanitation practices are often difficult to observe
  • Interruption of the normal functioning of the justice system potentially resulting in extended detention of adolescents who might otherwise be released or placed in non-custodial alternatives
  • Elevated risk of child marriage due to economic uncertainty and interruption of education

For more details on the child protection risks related to COVID-19, including UNICEF’s response and related resources, see here.