Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, spoke on a U.N. panel in Geneva on November 14 on preventing child sexual abuse perpetration. The event was held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and was attended by representatives from more than 30 U.N. member nations.
The event was hosted by co-hosted by Israel’s Permanent Mission to the U.N.-Geneva and Uruguay, Member of the U.N, Human Rights Council. Opening remarks were made by Ambassador Ms. Aviva Raz Schecter, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, and Mr. Walter Stevens, Permanent Observer of the European Union.
In some countries, children account for a large portion of child sexual abuse offenses, often because they are unaware of age boundaries, the concept of consent, or that online sexual images of other children are illegal.
In her comments, Dr. Letourneau shared promising results from a novel U.S. school prevention program designed to give sixth and seventh grade children the information they need to reduce the likelihood that they will involve younger children in their early sexual behaviors.
Dr. Letourneau called on UN member states to prioritize and fund perpetration prevention on par with perpetration punishment. Article 19 of the CRC requires member countries to establish child maltreatment prevention efforts. She noted that most resources addressing child sexual abuse focus on after-the-fact efforts to detect, punish, and monitor offenders, and to treat victims.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on November 22