Keeping kids safe during Covid-19 and beyond
9 September 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated an existing silent pandemic – of sexual violence against children and adolescents. This has been happening behind closed doors, and in addition, large numbers of children and adolescents are spending unprecedented time online, increasing their exposure to online violence, sexual exploitation, and abuse.
In response, Together for Girls joined forces with Child USA, Darkness to Light, and the National Children’s Alliance, to create #KeepKidsSafe. Led by a group of more than 70 adult survivors of child sexual abuse, leaders and national organisations, #KeepKidsSafe is united on a shared goal: calling on US Congress to take urgent action to protect children during Covid-19 and beyond.
The #KeepKidsSafe open letter highlights how Covid-19 lockdown measures increase the risk of child abuse, and asks the US Congress to include funding to prevent child abuse in the next Covid-19 relief package. It calls on Congress to enable access to critical prevention and response services, to ensure children are safe online, and to expand access to support services for the most vulnerable.
Currently the letter has more than 340 signatories from a diverse coalition of stakeholders, including Save the Children, Prevent Child Abuse America, Promundo, and Equality Now. Not only has #KeepKidsSafe sparked an online conversation, it has helped inform congressional advocacy work to support a comprehensive, victim-centred approach to child sexual abuse prevention and response programmes. The campaign has also increased support for research on the impact of child sexual abuse, including its specific impact among communities of colour.
Strengthening the coalition to grow the online conversation about child abuse during Covid-19 will continue to elevate survivors’ voices and raise awareness about the issue. To share information about #KeepKidsSafe and make it easy for all to get involved, it has created an action hub.
On the action hub site it provides five ways to help #KeepKidsSafe:
- Call on 2020 US presidential candidates to take a stand against sexual violence against children
- Sign the advocacy letter
- Reach out to US Congress
- Spread the word and share your story on social media
- Learn to prevent abuse with the Darkness to Light curriculum
We all have a role to play in building a world where children can thrive, which is why, together with our partners, we can build societies where children never experience sexual abuse. To this end, Oak’s Prevent Child Sexual Abuse Programme supports organisations that: (1) promote, advance and scale up solutions to reduce child sexual abuse; and (2) engage with and hold global institutions accountable to prevent abuse and to end impunity for child sexual abuse. You can read more about our strategy on our website.