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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.