Unspeakable Crimes Against Children: Sexual violence against children

Save the Children warns that children make up the majority of victims of sexual violence in world's conflict and post-conflict zones. In the report 'Unspeakable Crimes Against Children', figures and testimonies are collated from a range of countries affected by conflict over the past decade, including Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Colombia. Reliable data on the issue is limited, as much sexual abuse goes unreported, but taken together, the figures collated in the report indicate that children frequently make up the majority of sexual abuse victims in war and its aftermath. Despite this, programmes to prevent children falling victim to sexual violence and help them recover from attacks remain chronically underfunded. The most recent complete global figures show that less than a quarter of the budget needed to protect children and women in emergencies was available. During its leadership of the G8, the UK government has vowed to prioritise the issue of sexual violence in conflict. Save the Children is calling on G8 leaders to take the following concrete actions to help children who are affected:

  • Fund child protection in emergencies to make sure that vulnerable children are kept safe and given help to recover from their experiences.
  • Ensure that programmes aimed at dealing with sexual violence in conflict zones are focussed on children, who often make up the majority of survivors.
  • End impunity for sexual violence against children, making sure that those responsible are brought to account.
  • Ensure that the UN has the resources and mandate to put measures in place to effectively protect children in conflicts.
Published 2013-04-11

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