Sexual abuse can be defined as "any sexual assault committed with force or coercion in favor of an unequal relationship" (WHO Working Group of the UN and NGOs for protection against the EAS, January 2010). Children and adolescents are affected primarily by the "unequal relationship".
Support for child victims of sexual abuse
A conspiracy of silence, threats, isolation, shame and secrecy strongly marks the lives of child victims of sexual violence. Even in countries where social services are available, identifying abused children is difficult. BICE has mobilized its network to ensure effective prevention and child protection and to provide long-term support of child victims of sexual abuse.
Working against sexual abuse
BICE aims to reduce the number of cases of abuse and ensure a safe environment for children in 23 countries in Africa, America Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe, with a new programme against child abuse, which will run until 2017. The aim is to achieve a long-term impact, by improving training of local professionals, providing support and education for children in their communities.
The programme is structured in each country around the following pillars:
1. Training programmes and acquisition of fundamental skills on child abuse
BICE offers its partner organizations training programmes to improve the fight against sexual abuse. They include, for example, ways to develop a child protection policy, the exchange of good practices and experiences in dealing with issues of sexual abuse, the development of resilience in children and parents
2. Prevention of sexual abuse
These sessions allow children to acquire skills and reflexes that protect against sexual abuse. The sessions are held in schools, recreation centers, and the children’s neighborhoods. They also take place in partner institutions.
3. Child protection education
Events (workshops, campaigns, meetings) help educate the child’s family and the general public on the seriousness and consequences of sexual abuse. They aim to encourage in-depth behavioural changes regarding violence against children. Local seminars, training courses and the next BICE international congress are also opportunities for awareness-raising.
4. Shelter and support for children
BICE and its partners can provide direct support to child victims of sexual abuse. Children are accommodated in special centers where they are cared for and given psychological support to help overcome their trauma. In certain cases, children can receive legal assistance, and for older children, vocational training where needed.
5. Advocacy against sexual abuse
The aim of BICE and its partners’ advocacy is to exert an influence on local, national and international authorities and institutions, to bring about changes in legislation and public child protection policies.
6. Research and Publications
Field work is subject to good practice guidelines, which are summarized in publications on prevention and support for child victims of sexual abuse. A handbook on the implementation and evaluation of resilience will also be developed.