World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

COVID-19: Urgent Need For Child Protection Services To Mitigate The Risk Of Child Sexual Abuse

A UN human rights expert today warned that a reported surge in violence against children and new forms of sexual exploitation and abuse of them during COVID-19 lockdowns will have lifelong implications for millions worldwide.

Mama Fatima Singhateh, the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, said between 42 million and 66 million children worldwide are already in a precarious socio-economic situation, even before the hidden impact of the COVID-19 crisis emerges.

“The damage to millions of children will be devastating if we are slow in mobilising child protection services for early detection and prevention,” Singhateh said.

“A comprehensive mapping and rapid and responsive child protection measures are paramount to assess the magnitude of this crisis on the most vulnerable children, including those who are refugees, displaced, homeless, migrants, minorities, slum-dwellers, living with disabilities, living on the streets, living in refugee settlements, and in institutions,” she said.

The independent expert said COVID-19 travel restrictions had spawned new forms of child sexual exploitation and abuse, including attempts to establish a “delivery” or “drive-thru” service for sexual exploitation of children.

“There has also been a spike in the number of attempts to access illegal websites featuring child sexual abuse material. Producing and accessing child sexual abuse material and live-stream child sexual abuse online has now become an easy alternative to groom and lure children into sexual activities and to trade images in online communities,” Singhateh said.

The COVID-19 pandemic will leave those already left behind trailing even further behind. “Our commitments made under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to leave no one behind is now more relevant than ever.”

Social benefits and social protection nets should prioritise low-income and vulnerable communities and families to alleviate COVID-19 collateral damage on children, the expert said.

Victim and survivor outreach, non-discriminatory child protection systems, public education and awareness campaigns, expanded helpline services and safe accommodation were among essential measures to mitigate harm.

“The UN Secretary-General’s Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on children should serve as a roadmap to shape our response to the crisis. In doing so, children should be given the space for meaningful and inclusive participation so that their voices would be heard and amplified in decisions affecting their lives,” Singhateh concluded.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

APEC: COVID-19 Crisis Deepens Contraction In The APEC Region: Report

A new updated report from the APEC Policy Support Unit finds that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a deeper contraction to the region’s economy. The APEC region’s economic growth is now expected to decline by 3.7 percent in 2020, down from its initial forecast ... More>>

Climate: Report Finds Economic Benefits Of Protecting 30% Of Planet's Land & Ocean Outweigh The Costs 5-To-1

'Protecting nature halts biodiversity loss, helps fight climate change, and lessens the chance of future pandemics. This is sound public policy, economically, ecologically, and morally.' by Jessica Corbett, staff writer Second growth redwood ... More>>

Asia: UN Rights Office Expresses Alarm At Hong Kong Arrests Under New Security Law

Unsplash/Man Chung | The skyline of Hong Kong harbour The UN human rights office, OHCHR , has expressed alarm at the arrest of demonstrators in Hong Kong, following China’s adoption of a national security law for the Special Administrative Region ... More>>

Israel/OPT: Annexation Plan Promotes ‘Law Of The Jungle’ And Must Be Stopped

The Israeli authorities must immediately abandon plans to further 'annex' territory in the occupied West Bank which breach international laws and exacerbate decades of systematic human rights violations against Palestinians there, Amnesty ... More>>