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Sexual Violence Against Children

Sexual violence affects millions around the world, and children in poor countries are some of the most vulnerable.

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They are at risk in their homes, schools and in their communities. But, with no money for a lawyer, it’s harder for impoverished children and their families to get justice.

In many places, there is no meaningful justice system response to sexual violence against children. Police are often untrained on investigations, and courts don’t protect children during the intense trial process. As a result, rapists know they can target children without fear of the law.

"IJM gave me hope to continue seeking justice when I was in the stage of nowhere. IJM supported me in pursuing justice that I wanted to achieve."

VERLA* ABUSED AT 7 YEARS OLD IN THE PHILIPPINES​​ (*PSEUDONYM)
The Facts
  • Nearly 1 in 5 girls is sexually abused at least once in her life. [1]
  • Worldwide, up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under 16 years old. [2]
  • Sexual violence, particularly during childhood, can lead to increased drug or alcohol misuse later in life. [3]

[1] UNICEF

[2] UN Women

[3] World Health Organization

Understand The Issue

In the developing world, the threat of sexual violence is ever-present: Studies find that children are most likely to be victimized by sexual violence in the places where they should feel safest, like their "neighborhood, home or school." [1]

Survivors of sexual violence everywhere face obstacles to justice, but the roadblocks are particularly devastating in the developing world. Victims, even children, are often blamed for the abuse, or their testimonies about the abuse are disregarded, or they are pressured to remain silent because of the intense stigma attached to rape. The perpetrator may offer to pay the victim’s parents some money in exchange for not pressing charges or even marry the victimized child—both of which can be extremely tempting offers for large families struggling to make ends meet.

If a police report is made, local police are unlikely to locate and apprehend the suspect, much less conduct an appropriate forensic investigation of the crime scene. If the victim’s case makes it to court, a survivor of assault may be forced to testify in front of his or her attacker. Cases often take years to reach a decision, requiring repeated and often traumatic visits to court. For these reasons, most reported cases never reach the judgment stage. When there are no real consequences for rapists and criminals, vulnerable children and women are left to pay the price.


[1] Shireen J. Jejeebhoy and Sarah Bott. Non-Consensual Sexual Experiences of Young People: A Review of the Evidence from Developing Countries

Our Response

IJM combats sexual violence against children in Africa and Latin America.

RESCUE VICTIMS
We ensure the child is safe from the perpetrator (including moving to a safe home if the child is in further danger at home).

BRING CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE
We collaborate with local authorities to investigate cases, help arrest criminals and support prosecution of rapists and other child abusers.

RESTORE SURVIVORS
We provide trauma-focused therapy, help survivors prepare to share the truth in court, and support families so children can heal in a safe and stable environment.

STRENGTHEN JUSTICE SYSTEMS
We provide training and hands-on mentoring to law enforcement, judges, medical and other professionals, and advocate for reforms to the court process to protect children.

Help survivors of violence.

You can send help to those recovering from trauma.

Media Contact

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More Information

Petra Kooman

Director of Marketing and Public Relations
pkooman@ijm.ca
519.679.5030 x.229

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