If you get here, it means that you are not indifferent to the suffering of children who have experienced or are subjected to abuse. Our belief is that every child should know where to report abuse and who can help when someone is hurting them. Unfortunately, the reality is different for the large majority of children who become victims of sexual abuse and exploitation online.
We, La Strada team, have just completed a research on the quality of support services that these children receive. Ten girls, survivors of the online sexual abuse they went through as children, reported on their interactions with various specialists with whom they communicated during the justice process.
In addition to the professional help and empathy that some of them received, there were also many moments in which they felt shame, rejection, misunderstanding or even blame from those who should have offered them unconditional support.
Here are the main recommendations of the beneficiaries, as result of the interaction with various specialists:
• Any child who goes through an experience of abuse and exploitation in the online environment should know where to report abuse and who are the specialists who can help them.
• Parents or carers of children who have been abused online should also receive support from the specialists to understand better what happened to the child.
• Children should be able to choose the professionals they interact with, including whether they prefer to talk to a man or a woman.
• Further efforts are needed to avoid repeated trauma to children and to ensure confidentiality at all stages of the justice process and in the provision of support services.
• There is a need for a service to block and remove child sexual abuse material from the Internet.
The briefing paper of the research Child online sexual exploitation and abuse. Survivors’ perspectives in Moldova (in Romanian) can be accessed here: https://cutt.ly/TTmPB6s
Full document (in English) - https://cutt.ly/XTmP4pN
The research was carried out under a project implemented by the Global WeProtect Alliance in partnership with the International Center La Strada and ECPAT International network.