Through the second edition of the International Survivors’ Survey, 250 survivors of child sexual abuse are already making their voices heard throughout the world.
The second edition of the survey builds on the first, which was initially published by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) in 2016. Since that publication was launched, an additional 100 survivors have added their voices to the mix, shedding light on the epidemic of child sexual abuse and its digital dimensions.
Shortened and simplified, the second edition of the survey aims to encourage even more survivors to come forward, and as a result, increase the world’s understanding of the challenges survivors and their families face. By listening to survivors’ voices, the survey also provides recommendations for governments, technology companies, organisations, families and children themselves to take action against online child sexual abuse.
“The world needs to hear the reality these survivors deal with every single day, and how the continued sharing of their abuse material online impacts every all aspects of their lives,” said Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of C3P. “We are extremely grateful to the brave survivors who have already shared their experiences with us. It is only through their voices that we can better understand how to support victims and their families, as well as protect other children from being exploited.”
Child sexual abuse happens in every country across the world. At least 120 million girls under the age of 20 – about one in 10 – have been forced to engage in sexual acts, though the actual figure is likely much higher. As the internet’s reach continues to spread across the world, even more children are being placed at risk of child sexual exploitation and abuse online. This is a phenomenon that became even more staggering during COVID-19: the National Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, for example, reported a nearly 100 per cent increase in online enticement reports between January to December 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019.
“Better understanding survivors’ experiences is essential to ending child sexual exploitation and abuse," said Marija Manojlovic, the Director of the End Violence Partnership's Safe Online initiative. "Making their voices heard will help us raise the awareness of the issue, but also gain insights into the pathways of victimization in digital environments, which can inform prevention and response strategies and, ultimately, influence how digital platforms are designed.”
Alongside the second edition of the International Survivors’ Survey is a brand-new survey for parents and guardians of child sexual abuse survivors. Both surveys are available in English, French, Spanish, Dutch and German.
“Doing this survey means giving a voice not only to my own inner child but all survivors,” said a survey respondent. “This is a new form of abuse that only we as survivors truly understand right now. This survey allowed me a safe place to express thoughts and needs so others know how to help. This survey has left me with hope and relief that healing can be a little easier for myself and others.”