Child sexual abuse: a silent health emergency: report of the Regional Director
Abstract1. Child abuse and neglect is a global public health concern. It is a prevailing problem inall generations, socioeconomic strata and societies. The magnitude of the problem in theAfrican Region is not known, and information from authoritative studies is scarce. WHOestimates that globally some 40 million children aged 0–14 years suffer some form of abuseand neglect requiring health and social care. The most devastating is child sexual abuse.2. Child sexual abuse (CSA) is “the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or shedoes not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child isnot developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or socialtaboos of society”.1 It is a most cruel and tragic occurrence and a serious infringement of achild’s rights to health and protection.3. There are many contributing factors to child sexual abuse. In the African Region,economic poverty and affluence, armed conflicts and the breakdown of family and socialsystems are the main risk factors for CSA, opening the doors for child labour, childtrafficking, child prostitution and child pornography. In such circumstances, human life haslittle value and children become the main victims.
Regional Committee for Africa, 54. (2011). Child sexual abuse: a silent health emergency: report of the Regional Director. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/1878