Charities urged to sign charter tackling sexual abuse of boys

Istock-487630560 (1)

A new charter seeks to improve support for children who experience sexual violence.

24th June 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Charities are being urged to sign up for a charter to tackle the sexual abuse of boys.

According to figures published by the charity Family for Every Child, one in six boys worldwide encounters sexual abuse at some point in their lives.

Although girls are still more at risk, with an estimated one in four affected by sexual violence, the charity says boys are at risk of “falling under the radar”.

Researchers found boys are less likely to report abuse than girls, less likely to be believed when they do, and in many cases can be seen as complicit in the abuse – or even the perpetrator.

The charity said support services also tend to be geared towards girls and counsellors can be “ill-equipped” to dealing with boys.

Family for Every Child is now inviting charities and other organisations working with children to sign up to its charter, United for Boys.

In signing, organisations will be pledging to follow six recommendations when they tackle sexual abuse.

These include having more support options, improving access to this support, and challenging incorrect narratives around sexual abuse. Signatories will also be asked to advocate for legal changes that would protect boys from sexual violence.

Amanda Griffith, the charity’s chief executive, said: "All around the world, millions of children – girls and boys alike – are affected by sexual abuse, exploitation and harmful behaviours. All children deserve a childhood free of these threats.

"Socio-cultural norms related to childhood, gender, masculinity and sexuality perpetuate sexual violence affecting boys, increase the vulnerability of boys to sexual violence, and contribute to under reporting.

"Our United for Boys charter combines public awareness-raising with systemic change. It calls on everybody – women and girls, men and boys, professionals and the public, young and old – to be a part of building a brighter future for boys, and for everyone.

"We believe that the best way to achieve these changes is by engaging professionals, from teachers and school support staff to GPs, to hospital, community and social workers, who can work in new ways to improve the system for children worldwide".