Liam Neeson on how film role led to him launching crusade to help vulnerable youngsters
Liam Neeson has told how being in Taken made him want to try to stamp out violence against children.
The Co Antrim star has fronted a new worldwide campaign for Unicef after it emerged that one-in-five girls are sexually abused as a child.
And the 61-year-old admitted he wanted to become a part of the charity’s anti-violence initiative after seeing the abuse kids can face in Ireland.
He said: “As a Unicef goodwill ambassador, I have long followed the issue of violence against children and the devastating impact it has on children, families and communities.
“It was a topic that became increasingly real to me as a child growing up in Ireland and during the filming of Taken, which focuses on one aspect of violence and abuse against children in the form of trafficking and sexual exploitation.
“In order to address the issue of violence, we need to speak out to highlight the problem and take action. I wanted to do that, and I urge everyone else to do the same.”
The Schindler’s List actor makes sure to touch upon teen suicide in a powerful new video – following the death of sisters Shannon, 15, and 13-year-old Erin, in Donegal.
Liam also spoke out over the help which is needed to stop children being gang raped as Unicef studies show about 20% of women and up to 10% of men report being sexually abused as a child.
In the bleak video, he tells viewers: “Here is a toddler being hit by his mother for breaking a glass.
“This child sleeps in the streets because her family threw her out.
“Here, online bullying pushes a teenager over the edge.
“Just because you can’t see violence against children, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
“Help us make violence against children disappear.”
Yesterday, Unicef’s chief of child protection Susan Bissell insisted that Liam’s help will make a difference in fighting violence against kids.
She added: “The international community will hear us talking about the prevention of violence against children, from the effects of war themselves.”