Over 80 percent of children in Lebanon are under risk of being forced into abuses such as child labour or child marriage.

In an October survey, 12 percent of families questioned said that they sent at least one child to work, up from 9 percent six months previously.
In an October survey, 12 percent of families questioned said that they sent at least one child to work, up from 9 percent six months previously. (Reuters)

Lebanon's spiralling economic crisis has caused abuse against children to soar and is putting one child out of two at risk of violence. 

"One in two children in Lebanon is at serious risk of physical, emotional, or sexual violence, as families struggle to cope in the country’s deepening crisis," the UN Children's Fund said on Friday.

A new report released by UNICEF showed that the number of cases of child abuse and exploitation handled by the agency and its partners shot up by 44 percent over the past year.

Children as young as six are working on farms and families seeking dowries are marrying off young girls.

The crisis has also led to a surge in domestic violence against women and girls, UNICEF said, adding that the crisis was also wreaking damage on children's mental health.

READ MORE: UN: Children's future 'at stake' as Lebanon grapples with financial crisis

Risk of abduction

The report said new threats against children were appearing such as "destitute families abandoning babies in the streets and children facing increased risk of abduction".

"With stress simmering at home, a lack of regular school routine during Covid-19 lockdowns and a decline in social services, at least one million children in Lebanon are at risk of direct violence," it said.

Lebanon defaulted on its debt last year as a result of financial mismanagement and corruption, yet successive governments have not enacted significant reforms to rescue the country.

The local currency lost 90 percent of its value in two years and four out of five Lebanese are living under the UN's poverty threshold.

READ MORE: Lebanon currency plunges to hit new low as economic crisis deepens

Source: AA