UN names World Day for prevention of child sexual abuse, exploitation

November 15, 2022 ­– The United Nations has declared November 18 as the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse, and Violence.

The new World Day is aimed at bringing global visibility to the trauma of child sexual abuse, with the hope that governments will take action to fight it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of children experience sexual violence each year.

“We promoted the World Day to increase awareness of the actions all governments can take to prevent abuse and bring healing to survivors,” said Jennifer Wortham, a research associate in Harvard’s Human Flourishing Program and founder of the Global Collaborative, the survivor-led network that led the international advocacy campaign to launch the World Day, in a November 10 press release from that organization. Wortham’s brothers are clergy abuse survivors and have struggled for many years. Wortham said she hopes the World Day can “bring hope and healing to the millions of children, and adult survivors like my brothers, who are suffering around the world.”

Wortham credited the Global Collaborative’s success in promoting the World Day to the Human Flourishing Program, which co-hosted a symposium aimed at preventing and healing child abuse in April 2021.

“The prevalence of child sexual abuse, the serious consequences to victims’ health and emotional well-being, and the fact that it is preventable, has placed child sexual abuse among the 24 risk factors identified by the WHO as substantively contributing to the global burden of disease,” said Tyler VanderWeele, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the program, in the release. “We were deeply concerned with these findings, and we believed urgent action was needed.”

Read the press release from The Global Collaborative: United Nations Declares November 18 as the World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence

Read an AP article: UN sets November 18 as day to spotlight child sexual abuse