Do Laws about Age of Sexual Consent Protect or Penalise Children?

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.

Technology facilitated sexual violence against children

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.

Writing Online Safety Training Curriculum for Southeast Asia

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.

Self-generated sexual content involving young people

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.

Online child sexual exploitation in Uganda

Our Director took part in a podcast where he spoke to Alan Collins from the British Law firm – Hugh James Solicitors about the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in Uganda. Mark and Hugh discussed the findings for Uganda from the Disrupting Harm research project that took place in 13 countries. While some structural change is occurring in East Africa, the research highlights that very few children subjected to abuse access justice. Many children do disclose to peers or trusted adults, but these people are not always well prepared to connect them to professional supports. We need to talk publicly and honestly about sexual abuse so that children feel safe and comfortable to come forward. You can listen to the podcast here.

Sexual consent and young people

It is commonly argued that establishing a minimum age at which individuals can legally consent to sexual activity helps protect children from sexual violence. However legislation can lead to unintended circumstances other than the desired effect of protecting children from being subjected to sexual offences by adults, including criminalization of sex between same aged peers. Evident’s Director, Dr Mark Kavenagh, took part in a recent discussion hosted by the Our Voices University Network to unpack some of the issues and possible solutions to these concerns. You can read the blog they developed here.

Participation of boys in research on child sexual abuse and exploitation

Research on child sexual exploitation and abuse must safely include children’s perspectives yet there is still a tendency to shy away from such participation, and this can be especially true for boys and young men. Evident’s Director, Dr Mark Kavenagh took part in a recent discussion hosted by the Our Voices University Network to unpack some of the barriers to boys participation in research on these topics. You can read key points from the discussion here.

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