SVRI engaged in a process that aimed to explore whether and how to strengthen our specific contributions towards ending violence against children (VAC) and child sexual abuse (CSA) and advance our work in these areas in line with our broader strategy goals: building evidence, strengthening capacity, promoting partnerships, and influencing change.
Data show that more than 50% of children have experienced some form of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or neglect in their lifetimes and that this violence can have wide-ranging and lifelong consequences (Dartnall & Gevers, 2021). Continuing research is essential, particularly in LMICs, to learn how to effectively prevent and respond to both VAW and VAC. SVRI believes that we could make significant, strategic contributions to the field as our core work is on advancing research and research uptake.
The current moment is a supportive one in terms of the state of knowledge in the field and tremendous global activism on these issues as well as strong political will. For SVRI, clarifying and strengthening their role on VAC and CSA is also very timely in the context of a growing call from both the VAC and VAW fields to work more closely together to address the multiple linkages and intersections including: shared risk factors, common underlying social norms, co-occurrence, intergenerational effects, common and compounding consequences, and adolescence (Guedes, Bott, Garcia-Moreno & Colombini, 2016).
Additional knowledge on intersections is critical to inform programme design and to examine how integrated programming would work in practice and how best to monitor progress. The SVRI is ideally placed to promote, support, and strengthen research collaborations on VAW and VAC, led by researchers in LMICs as well as to contribute to getting CSA onto the agendas of both VAW and VAC researchers, practitioners, policymakers and funders.
This project included various components, including:
- A review of SVRIs past and current VAC and CSA work which showed that the organisation has a substantial history of supporting work on these themes.
- A series of consultative processes between July and September 2021 to ensure that we understood the research needs, opportunities, concerns, and challenges in the VAC and CSA field so that we could make a significant positive contribution to the field. Find the final report from our consultations here.
- A scoping review of child sexual abuse research conducted in low and middle income countries in the past 10 years.
- Online learning events provided a knowledge exchange space for stakeholders in the field to come together to connect, share, and learn from one another. Sign up for the SVRI listserv to stay up to date with these events and keep an eye on SVRI’s Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts for announcements and registration links.
- Ongoing: A research priority setting process focusing on VAC-VAW Intersections which will offer opportunities for all stakeholders in the field to add their voice to co-create this global research agenda. Sign up for the global stakeholder list to participate in this process – all those working to address VAC, VAW, and the intersections between them are welcome.
- Upcoming: A free online course focused on VAC measurement in research studies will be launched in the latter half of 2022.