Out of the Shadows: Shining a Light on the Response to Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Out of the Shadows is a 40-country benchmarking index that examines how countries are responding to the threat of sexual violence against children.

Developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the tool uses a four-pronged approach. The index provides an opportunity for governments, stakeholders, industries, civil society organisations and other actors to review:

  • The environment in which sexual violence occurs;
  • A country’s legal framework to protect children from sexual violence;
  • The capacity and commitment of governments; and
  • The engagement of key industry players, civil society and media.

This index contains 35 broad categories with more than 100 sub-indicators relating to sexual violence against children. It is not just a research tool but a platform for action! Upon its debut, Child Ombudsman of Sweden, Elizabeth Dahlin, described the tool as “historic”.

This tool allows actors to:

  • Identify gaps and highlight best practices;
  • Complete an independent assessment of responses to child sexual exploitation and abuse; and
  • Ensure national accountability in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This tool, which has taken one year to complete, was created following extensive consultations with leading experts and national governments and also with the support of organisations such as the Oak Foundation, the World Childhood Foundation and the Carlson Family foundation. Using this tool we can better understand the aspects of sexual violence facing 70% of the world’s children, where progress is needed and the factors that are necessary to drive change. With only 21 additional countries, the index will be able to cover 85% of the world’s population of children.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, this is not just a report or an index but a call to action to seize this moment and end violence against children.

You can find out more about the tool here. Be sure to click on “Download Data” in order to access the tool!