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 in all generations, socioeconomic strata and societies. The magnitude of the problem in the African Region is not known, and information from authoritative studies is scarce. WHO estimates that globally some 40 million children aged 0–14 years suffer some form of abuse and 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 she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society”.1 It is a most cruel and tragic occurrence and a serious infringement of a child’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 social systems are the main risk factors for CSA, opening the doors for child labour, child trafficking, child prostitution and child pornography. In such circumstances, human life has little 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