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How we’re joining with partners and government to end sexual abuse against children in Paraguay

POSTED July 25, 2022

How we’re joining with partners and government to end sexual abuse against children in Paraguay

Children Believe’s development programs connect with advocacy campaigns to help vulnerable kids realize lasting positive change

By Jorge Méndez Rheineck, country director, Paraguay

Child sillouette holding up butterfly with the sun shinning overhead

Children Believe impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, youth and adults through its programs, but did you know it also affects millions more through its influence in public policy?

This influence opportunity is a result of what Children Believe is already doing in communities by supporting children and their families.

An example of this is “We are all responsible,” a national annual campaign to end sexual abuse of children in Paraguay.

It’s an important campaign designed to draw attention to a serious issue facing our nation. The following statistics offer some insight into the situation (resource links below in Spanish).

Our government takes this very seriously. “We are responsible” is led by our Ministry of Children and Adolescents, with support from Children Believe and other international organizations, including UNICEF, Plan International and SOS Children’s Village.

It’s a priority for the President of Paraguay, government agencies and authorities, international organizations, mass media and influencers among others. Everyone is spreading the word about ending sexual abuse through social media, personally and professionally.

In fact, the President previously (2018) signed 20 commitments in favour of childhood and adolescence — among them was one specifically directed towards ending violence against children. He also renewed the country plan to end violence against children in keeping with Paraguay’s status as a “Pathfinder country.” (A country where government leaders have vowed to set an example for their global counterparts and take comprehensive action to end all forms of violence against children.)

“We are responsible” encourages the public to speak up against abuse. It references hotlines children can use to report abuse, get help and inform authorities in monitoring situations.

Children, youth, families and community members are also learning signals of abuse (such as excessive crying, difficulty sleeping and social withdrawal) along with tips on how to prevent it (such as sharing what types of touching are inappropriate, listening and providing safe spaces).

The overarching message is that sexual abuse is a criminal offence.

This public-awareness service has had an immediate and measurable impact. In 2021, the monthly number of reports of sexual abuse against children before the campaign was 60, and after the campaign reports rose to 139, according to our government telephone helpline.

Once again, this year we’ve seen the importance of the campaign as child abuse is more openly discussed through mass media. It means child abuse cases are being noticed and have less chance of going unpunished.

We’re proud that small but critical investment and strong and strategic alliances can help children develop safely, realize their rights and reach their full potential.

Learn more about our work in Paraguay by clicking here.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

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