United Nations Declares November 18 World Day to Highlight Child Sexual Abuse

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United Nations Declares November 18 World Day to Highlight Child Sexual Abuse

United Nations Declares November 18 World Day to Highlight Child Sexual Abuse

Nov 18, 2022

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly has approved a resolution officially establishing today, November 18, as a day to highlight and spread awareness related to the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, as ABC News reported.

Known as the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence, the resolution was sponsored by Sierra Leone and Nigeria and co-sponsored by more than 120 countries. Adopted by consensus, the child sex abuse day resolution was greeted with loud applause following a bang of the gavel by the assembly’s acting president.

“Following the action, H.E., Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Permanent Observer of the Holy See United Nations, New York addressed the Assembly expressing appreciation for the UN’s action, and the full support of the Vatican State for the newly adopted World Day,” a press release from child advocacy organization The Global Collective said.

A number of child sex abuse advocates and related organizations are listed as co-founders and partners of the UN’s World Day to Highlight Child Sexual Abuse:

  • A Breeze of Hope Foundation
  • American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children
  • Arigatou International
  • Army of Survivors
  • Australia eSafety Commission
  • Awake
  • Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs
  • Bellweather International
  • Candle in a Dark Room
  • Child Abuse Council
  • Christian Cultural Center
  • Darkness to Light
  • Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children
  • General Federation of Women’s Clubs
  • End FGM/C U.S./Network
  • Enough Abuse Campaign
  • Human Flourishing Program, Harvard University
  • Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities
  • International Board of Rabbi’s
  • Keep Kids Safe Coalition
  • International Centre on Sexual Exploitation
  • Islamic Relief
  • Lynns Warrior’s
  • Male Survivors
  • Maria Goretti Network
  • Monique Burr Foundation
  • National Center on Sexual Exploitation
  • New York Board of Rabbi’s PACE
  • Prevent Child Abuse America
  • Roads of Success
  • Sacred Spaces
  • Shine on Sierra Leone
  • Survivor Network for Those Abused by Priests
  • The Catholic Project
  • The New York Foundling
  • Their Story is our Story
  • WeProtect Global Alliance
  • World Childhood Foundation, USA
  • World Council of Churches
  • World Vision

Over 50 individuals gathered together for the passage of the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation resolution, including:

  • Leaders of prominent child welfare and advocacy organizations
  • Survivors of child sexual abuse
  • Survivors of clergy abuse

H.E. Fatima Maada Bio, the First Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone and a survivor of child marriage, also addressed the General Assembly.

Child sexual abuse is a global public health crisis. We must acknowledge this problem, and take every necessary action to protect our children, especially our girls, from this tragic human condition,” she said, urging action on the part of world leaders.

“Her eloquent, impassioned speech was greeted with a round of applause, and cheers from survivors in the gallery,” according to The Global Collective’s press release.

“Child sexual abuse is one of the greatest violations to human dignity, one can suffer,” added H.E. Ambassador Alhaji Fanday Turay. “The World Day for the Prevention of, and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence is a critical step in bringing institutional recognition to this horrific childhood trauma. Too many victims of child sexual abuse are suffering in shame and silence. Many live anguished lives. By adopting this Resolution, we can provide a platform for all nations and civil society to mobilize and take actions to protect children from this tragedy.”

“The toll child sexual abuse takes goes deep. It harms the victim, and their loved ones, and it has grave consequences to the health and wellbeing of our nations costing billions each year in increased health care costs and lost GDP,” H.E. Bio said, noting that the World Health Organization reports that millions of children experience child sexual violence each year.

The UN resolution reportedly aims to bring global visibility to the problem of child sexual abuse and promote the right for every child to grow up free from all forms of sexual abuse, both online and offline.

World Day to Highlight Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence Urges Action

Specifically, the UN resolution calls on 193 member nations, international organizations, world leaders, civil society, non-governmental groups, faith leaders, academic institutions, and private businesses to commemorate the day “in a manner that each considers most appropriate.

The assembly also stressed the need for certain steps to be enacted through the new day commemorated to highlight child sex abuse, such as:

  • Educating the public about the impact of sexual abuse on children
  • Educating the public of the need to prevent exploitation (online and offline)
  • Holding child sex abuse perpetrators accountable
  • Providing child sex abuse survivors with access to justice
  • Opening a discussion on the need to prevent and eliminate stigmatization for survivors
  • Promoting the healing of all child sex abuse survivors while also affirming their dignity and protecting their rights

Bio welcomed the resolution’s wide support, telling reporters after the vote, “I think the whole world is standing in solidarity to say enough is enough,” according to ABC News.

Bio also said November 18 will not be a day of celebration but a reminder to the world that the “scourge” of child sexual abuse is happening and to give the victims voices “so they know they’re not in this on their own.”

“When someone violates your body without your consent, that is a crime, and it’s taking your human rights away from you,” she said. “So, November 18 will be a day that we will gather, and we will scream together and say, `You’re not going to bring us down. We’re still surviving, and we will live. If you think you have finished us, no, you haven’t.'”

Bio reportedly gave credit for the resolution to Jennifer Wortham, a Californian whose two younger brothers were molested by their parish priest more than 35 years ago and who has been campaigning for a world day to help bring healing and justice for survivors. Wortham raised the issue with her, “making this my agenda,” Bio said to ABC News.

“Wortham praised the backing from UN member nations and said over 100 organizations were going to be tweeting support for the resolution Monday,” ABC News reported.

Latest 2022 Child Sexual Abuse Statistics

According to the National Centers for Victims of Crime (NSVC) the prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. And while experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities, the following estimated statistics shed light on the overall scope of the problem:

  • One in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident.
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
  • Children are most vulnerable to abuse between the ages of seven and 13.
  • According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, three out of four adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well.
  • A study conducted in 1986 found that 63% of women who had suffered sexual abuse by a family member also reported a rape or attempted rape after the age of 14.
  • Children who had an experience of rape or attempted rape in their adolescent years were 13.7 times more likely to experience rape or attempted rape in their first year of college.
  • A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness, and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.
  • Children who do not live with both parents as well as children living in homes marked by parental discord, divorce, or domestic violence, have a higher risk of being sexually abused.

In August, Dordulian Law Group (DLG) published a blog examining how much money is spent by the federal government to prevent child sexual abuse. Some statistics on the matter include:

  • Child sexual abuse costs the U.S. billions per year for incarceration.
  • For every $3,125 we spend in punishment, however, we only spend $1 in prevention research.
  • Since 2019, the U.S. federal government has increased its investment in child sexual abuse prevention research from essentially $0 to $2 million.
  • Congress allocated $2 million for child sexual abuse prevention research for Fiscal Year 2022, (an increase of $500,000 from 2021).
  • The U.S. economic burden of child sexual abuse was $9.3 billion in 2015, costing each victim more than $280,000 in lost earnings and other economic impacts over their lifetime.

How to File a California Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

California survivors of childhood sexual abuse currently have a limited window to file claims that would otherwise be barred due to an expired statute of limitations. The California AB 218 law allows all survivors of childhood sex abuse a three-year window to file civil lawsuits seeking to recover financial compensation for various damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma or psychological harm
  • Punitive damages
  • Hospital or medica care costs – past/future
  • Counseling or therapy expenses – past/future
  • Lost wages or reduced earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life

Under AB 218, child sex abuse claims may be filed until the window’s expiration on January 1, 2023 – regardless of how long ago the crimes occurred. Once the window closes, survivors will be bound by the standard statute of limitations when filing claims.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

DLG is one of the nation’s leading child sexual abuse firms representing survivors in all types of cases. To speak with one of our Los Angeles sexual abuse attorneys from the DLG SAJE Team, contact us today at 818-322-4056 for a free and confidential consultation. There is never any upfront fee for our services, and we will fight aggressively for justice and maximum financial compensation on your behalf.

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