Dr. Mark Kavenagh, recently made an appearance on the ‘One in Ten’ podcast by the National Children’s Alliance. In this compelling episode titled “Are We Remembering the Boys?”, he sheds light on a vital, yet often overlooked aspect of the discourse surrounding sexual exploitation – the experiences of boys. While there is no denying the fact that girls across the globe are disproportionately vulnerable to both sexual abuse and exploitation, Mark emphasized the reality that sexual violence does not discriminate by gender. Boys, too, are victims, but they often face unique stigmas and burdens that can hinder their path to healing. Listen to the full episode here.
Over five months of coaching and support, the team at Evident supported programming staff, together with communications staff from seven ChildFund country offices in South and Southeast Asia. Together, we identified and crafted seven narratives that showcased country office’s existing and new programmatic work regarding online safety. Based on these narratives, the team drafted a range of comms products that the country offices could use to articulate these narratives via public and media engagements, advocacy work with government, and other activities within the organisations broader global Web Safe and Wise campaign.
This Special Issue of Child Abuse and Neglect includes six new empirical papers that shed new light on the sexual exploitation of boys. Research on the sexual exploitation of boys that predominantly represents lower- and middle-income countries is showcased. The issue begins with a global systematic scoping literature review that identified 81 publications from 38 countries on the topic. The papers include two on which Mark Kavenagh was a co-author. You can access the issue here. Thanks to the generous support of Oak Foundation, all papers in the issue are open access.
Mark Kavenagh co-authored this peer-reviewed paper together with Nicholas Hua and Christine Wekerle from McMaster University in Canada. The paper provides a gender norms analysis of the data presented in the ten country reports published as part of ECPAT International’s ground-breaking Global Boys Initiative. The paper synthesizes analysis of legal frameworks with findings from a survey of front line social support workers to name themes, challenges and present solutions You can download the full paper here.
Evident completed a mid-term evaluation of this project by Equal Asia Foundation to support queer communities in Thailand economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project supported small LGBTQI+ businesses and gig workers and advocated for stronger protections for the community that built readiness to cope with similar future events. The evaluation drew on documentary analysis and qualitative interviews to identify successes, blocks, and recommend redirections for the remainder of the project.
Evident revised and refreshed Child Australia’s innovative training curriculum for young people, parents and child protection professionals. The new toolkits refreshed and updated materials for young people and parents, and created a new package for child protection professionals. Our team consulted draft materials with staff in four country offices, and coordinated the translation, contextualization and professional layouts of all materials. Further information about ChildFund Swipe Safe can be found here.
Evident collaborated with the Safer Young Lives Centre and Tulir India to explore laws establishing minimum age of consent to sexual activities. In a webinar in December, Mark Kavenagh presented about the ways in which these laws can protect young people from sexual abuse by adults but that unintended consequences can also result if not treated with nuance – with young people potentially being punished for consensual sexual contact between same-aged peers. You can find the webinar recording here.
Dr Mark Kavenagh joined the Sexual Violence Research Institute podcast to discuss the real-world impacts of technology facilitated violence against children, the research that is happening in this area and what tech platforms and governments can do to counter this threat. During the discussion he considered the links between online and offline experiences of violence and the specific impact on child survivors. You can hear the podcast here.
Mark joined Alan Collins from Hugh James Law Firm in the UK to talk about Evident’s work re-writing online safety curriculum for ChildFund Australia. The ‘Swipe Safe’ training course includes components for young people, parents and for frontline professionals and will be delivered to more than 20,000 people in Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and Cambodia starting in early 2023. You can listen to the podcast here.
Young people creating sexual images and videos raises complexities and questions for helping professionals. Is this sometimes just evolving sexual behaviour? What if it is coerced? What should be treated as problematic or criminal? Mark Kavenagh and Julia Durska co-authored this blog for the WeProtect Global Alliance exploring the problem and offering advice on some solutions.