United for Boys is a charter written by international charity Family for Every Child after its research estimated that one in six boys worldwide experiences sexual abuse.
While girls continue to be the gender principally affected by sexual violence, with around one in four estimated to suffer abuse, Family For Every Child suggested boys’ suffering can fall under the radar.
Family for Every Child, which is made up of 36 member organisations working to support vulnerable children in 35 countries across the world, has called in its charter for six evidence-based principles to support boys. They are:
- Raising awareness of sexual violence affecting boys amongst professionals who work with children, leading to the development of organisational strategies for building staff knowledge and skills so they feel informed and equipped to provide support.
- Ensuring all services that can support boys are designed and managed in ways that make them feel included, accepted and welcome.
- Providing easily accessible, appropriate and high quality information to help educate children and families on sex, sexual health, sexuality and internet safety; and ensuring that this includes information relating to sexual violence affecting boys.
- Advocating for changes in the law that could ensure boys affected by sexual violence are better protected and supported, and that victims are not criminalised.
- Changing the conversation around culturally-embedded social norms around gender.
- Challenging narratives around sexual violence affecting boys, including in the media; and offering support on how to better frame the issue.
Organisations which become signatories to the United for Boys charter will be able to access tailored support and guidance from Family For Every Child, and will receive a campaign badge.
Amanda Griffith, chief executive of Family For Every Child, said, ‘All around the world, millions of children – girls and boys alike – are affected by sexual abuse, exploitation and harmful behaviours. All children deserve a childhood free of these threats.
‘Socio-cultural norms related to childhood, gender, masculinity and sexuality perpetuate sexual violence affecting boys, increase the vulnerability of boys to sexual violence, and contribute to under reporting.
‘Our United For Boys charter combines public awareness-raising with systemic change. It calls on everybody – women and girls, men and boys, professionals and the public, young and old – to be a part of building a brighter future for boys, and for everyone.
‘We believe that the best way to achieve these changes is by engaging professionals, from teachers and school support staff to GPs and social workers, who can work in new ways to improve the system for children worldwide.’
- Organisations can sign the United for Boys charter here