Helping Children Out of the Shadows and Into the Light

Church resources for ending sexual violence against children

The divine light shines most brightly in the smiles of children. So Christians have always acknowledged their sacred duty to nurture children and protect them from harm. Now the World Council of Churches (WCC), is promoting the “Out of the Shadows” campaign through its “Churches’ Commitments to Children” programme, in collaboration with the Just Community of Women and Men programme and the EHAIA programme - to support local churches and regional partners in protecting children and adolescents from sexual violence. The campaign can help churches identify important issues and develop ways to address them.

The Out of the Shadows index

The Out of the Shadows Index, which was developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit, measures how national actors in 60 countries address child sexual abuse and exploitation. The index, which focuses on policies, practices and standards, reveals that much more needs to be done to achieve the United Nations’ goal of ending all forms of violence against children by 2030.The index evaluated critical issues in each country, including education and awareness-building, reproductive health, gender norms, victim support, law enforcement and child sexual abuse online.

Churches’ efforts to end child sexual abuse

This index shows that there are proven steps that all countries can take right now to end child sexual abuse. Civil society actors, including churches, are well placed to take those steps such as: raising awareness of threats of child sexual abuse, putting preventive measures in place, and providing support for victims and survivors, especially the most vulnerable.

Churches from Tanzania, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines have participated in a pilot project of the campaign that offered capacity-building workshops to church representatives. The work done in these targeted countries helped to shape the toolkit, and to develop national action plans in response to the issues raised by the Out of the Shadows Index. Undertaken by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the index measures how national actors in 60 countries address child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Workshop in Africa

Two workshops were organized by local church councils in Nigeria and Tanzania in collaboration with the World Council of Churches (WCC), All Africa Conference of Churches, and UNICEF consolidated the partnership on ending sexual violence against children.

Workshops in Asia

A consultation jointly organized by the Christian Conference of Asia and the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Chiang Mai, Thailand has reiterated the need to combat sexual abuse and exploitation of children. About 40 child rights activists and representatives of churches as well as organizations working on the rights and dignity of children from various countries and regions across Asia committed to sensitize churches in Asia to be engaged in child rights advocacy.

Photo galleries

Photo galleries from the Out of the shadows workshops 

If you have any specific request concerning the resources - please contact us:

Mrs Frederique Seidel, Senior Advisor on Child Rights / Manager of global WCC-UNICEF Partnership
phone: +41 22 791 6320

Please do let us know if you would like to share your experience when using the resources.