Millions of children all over the world experience sexual violence each year. The long-term harm caused by this trauma is largely concealed since sexual assault is still a taboo subject in many societies.
Sexual violence against children and adolescents is the silent scourge of our time. It threatens the safety and protection of children and adolescents everywhere.
The extent of the problem is staggering. Across the globe, up to 35% of girls and 21% of boys experience sexual violence before their 18th birthday.
Childhood sexual violence takes many forms, including child sexual abuse and exploitation, intra-familial abuse, rape, child marriage, dating violence and sexual violence among peers.
Child sexual violence has far-reaching consequences. The trauma it causes has devastating long-term effects on individuals and communities and can create harmful cycles that pass down through generations.
We can change this. There are clear solutions which would see children better protected, more justice for survivors achieved and better support for healing and trauma relief. Survivors of child sexual violence must be included in finding these solutions, bringing their expertise and lived experience into shaping improved policies, programmes and approaches.
Together, we can — and must — Be Brave so children and adolescents can be safe.