1. PRIORITIZE ENDING CHILDHOOD SEXUAL VIOLENCE
G7 leaders should include this issue on their agenda when they meet in June and make concrete and timebound commitments in the leaders communiqué.
G7 Interior and Security Ministers should meet in 2022 to drive forward their ‘Action Plan to Combat Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse’. This work should be informed by the G7 working group that was announced in 2021.
2. DELIVER ON EXISTING G7 COMMITMENTS
New commitments of $1 billion to the End Violence Fund housed at the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children to scale prevention, healing, and justice programmes in low and middle income countries.
Commit to legislate on child-rights driven end-to-end encryption and end its use in childhood sexual violence.
Publish the agreed G7 plan for coordinated engagement with industry ahead of the June G7 summit.
3. ENGAGE WITH SURVIVORS
The G7 should establish a G7 Survivors Council as an advisory board which should help inform G7 policies and make sure that survivors’ knowledge is included in policy and practice.
4. DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT NATIONAL ACTION PLANS/STRATEGIES
These should be embedded in existing National Action Plans to End Violence Against Children, and build on the WePROTECT Model National Response, and should include:
- A whole of government approach that is fully funded, and focused on prevention, healing, and justice
- Training of all relevant state employees into how to interact with and support child and adult survivors of childhood sexual violence
- Adequate support services for all survivors and national campaigns to de-stigmatise the use of such services
- The abolition of Statutes of Limitation in cases of childhood sexual violence where that is not already the case
- Community-based child-friendly approaches for responding to child violence and witnesses of child violence
- Research into, and support programmes to overcome, the psychological motivation of perpetrators of childhood sexual violence.
The abhorrent global crisis of childhood sexual violence has been largely invisible, in part due to the devastating stigma and societally induced shame that many survivors experience, which prevents them from coming forward. It occurs in families, schools, places of worship, communities, sports programs, on line and in the context of dating relationships and child marriage. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of online sexual abuse and exploitation as well as reduced access to prevention, interventions and response services for those who experience abuse.
It doesn’t have to be this way. As survivors and our allies, we demand prevention to protect this and every generation to come; healing for victims, survivors and their families; and justice for wrongdoers, the complicit, and the victimized. We call for bold and transformative action from G7 leaders to End Childhood Sexual Violence.
How the G7 can build on their existing commitments
This is a global crisis which requires a multilateral response as well as a national one. Online abuse crosses borders and is facilitated by technology companies with global reach (many of which are headquartered in G7 countries). Abuse also occurs in organizations with global reach (many of which are headquartered in G7 countries). Trafficking of children and sexual exploitation perpetrated by tourists also require global action. And as the G7 have previously acknowledged, a multinational effort is required to raise funds to support survivors.
The G7 Summit will take place from 26 to 28 June 2022 at the Schloss Elmau castle in the Bavarian Alps hosted by Chancellor Scholz and the Government of Germany. At the summit the G7 should build on and strengthen previous commitments including the G7 Interior and Security ministers 2021 Action plan to combat Child Sexual Exploitation and abuse (CSAE) and the G7 Heads of State 2018 Charleroix committment to ‘End sexual and gender-based violence. abuse. and harrassment in a digital context’. The G7 Heads of States should implement the specific SDG target 16.2 to end all forms of violence against children.
Germany can build on its own platform which gives the country credibility to lead. Over the past 12 years Germany has invested in four critical initiatives: the Independent Commissioner for CSAE, the Survivors Council as a political advisory body, the Independent Inquiry into CSAE, and the German Stakeholder Forum on CSAE. All of these were welcomed by the German Bundestag, and the new German government has committed to doing more.