Tackling sexual exploitation and abuse of children: Actions and commitments by UNICEF

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore 

STOCKHOLM/SYDNEY 15 February 2018: “Sexual exploitation and abuse of children under any circumstances is reprehensible. No organization is immune from this scourge and we are continuously working to better address it. When it comes to the protection of children, we are determined to act. There is no room for complacency. 

“As UNICEF’s Executive Director, I have put this issue at the top of our agenda and we are committed to strong action and transparency within UNICEF. 

“To make sure we are doing everything possible, we are commissioning an independent review of our procedures and I will make its recommendations public. 

“My team is also exploring ways to use technology to quickly assess the risks of sexual exploitation of abuse, and facilitate safe and confidential reporting by the victims. 

“Starting in locations where the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse is higher, we are implementing more stringent vetting of all personnel and improving safety and protection around children in our operations. 

“These new measures add to the strong and determined actions we have taken over the years to prevent the abuse of children and respond to the needs of those affected, building on the lessons we have learned and a regular assessment of our approaches:

-  we have made the reporting of sexual exploitation and abuse mandatory, through a notification alert that reports information to me within 24 hours;
-  we have scaled up our assistance to victims and are providing them with safe and confidential support;
-  we are rolling-out community-based complaint mechanisms;
-  we have strengthened our investigations unit; and
-  we have made training on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse mandatory. 

“We have zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, and we remain committed to continually learning and improving. We want justice for the child victims and are determined to work with all partners to achieve it.”

Read UNICEF Australia's Child Protection Policy

Read UNICEF Australia's Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Policy
 
For more information please contact:
Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, +1 212 326 7448, nmekki@unicef.org
Charlotte Glennie, UNICEF Australia, +61420407886, cglennie@unicef.org.au