The report features 20 country case studies spanning all continents except Antarctica, and inclusive of high, middle and low income countries.
In examining national budgeting to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse, our research shows that, even as recognition of child sexual abuse grows, governments globally are often failing to transparently resource policies and laws to achieve their stated objectives.
Only seven out of the 20 countries' national strategic policy documents include explicit budgetary information focused on child sexual abuse. And yet our research also indicates that governments need to maintain clear connections between policy goals and resources needed to achieve them in order to have the results that we hoped for materialise or have even a chance of materialising.
We also found that response efforts including enforcement, prosecution and survivor services are allocated the majority of national funding, while prevention efforts are intermittently detailed and largely underfunded or unfunded altogether. This is true across all 20 case studies.
Moreover, our in-depth analysis of national budget related documents and our interviews with subject matter experts indicates that allocations specifically to address child sexual abuse are not always discernible from other child protection priorities. This can certainly reflect a holistic approach to implementation.
A lack of transparency also creates challenges for detailed tracking and evaluation. Even when governments take an integrated approach to child protection, countries need to be more clear about the documentation for their national budget commitments related to addressing child sexual abuse alongside other priorities of child protection.
Socio political or fiscal upheaval driven for example, by COVID-19, or other crises, such as economic, conflict, and changes in regime, tend to undermine continued funding for child sexual abuse response and prevention, despite the fact that child sexual abuse is shown to increase during times of crisis.
Governments need to be mindful of how changing spending priorities can rapidly impact children at risk of abuse, or who are already experiencing abuse. Governments need to do better to fund child sexual abuse related programmes alongside other urgent needs, even during emergencies even during crises, including prolonged crises.
Safeguardingchildhood.com contains our analysis, data visualisations and research findings, including on Albania, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, England, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia Jordan Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, South Africa, Sweden, Peru, the Philippines, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
By making this data accessible, we hope that this research will prove useful for practitioners and policymakers. Together, we can create a safer world for children, free of violence.