Over a decade after the civil war, Sierra Leone remains one of the poorest countries in the world with high infant mortality. In addition to these dismal statistics and myriad of health issues, Sierra Leone struggles with a child sexual abuse epidemic that has seen a 69% increase in just two years. With about 3 million children under the age of fifteen and nearly 2,000 reported rape cases in this age group from just 3 out of 12 districts in 2016 is alarming (Rainbow Initiative SL,2016).
The Healthy Kids Initiative, was founded to fight sexual abuse in children by employing a multi-pronged approach. With the help of partners advocating for child’s health and rights, we direct resources directly to those in need. A child with a healthy mind and body will grow up to reach his/her full potential and become contributing members of society.
To educate at-risk children and families about sexual abuse and provide resources for children with sexual abuse.
A world where every child grows up safe.
Raise awareness on sexual violence against children
About 10 children are raped daily in 3 districts in Sierra Leone, with 80% against adolescents. There is a code of silence over child sexual abuse; enshrined in culture, lack of female empowerment and low knowledge levels that need to be addressed.
To facilitate the improvement of policies and laws
Only 55% of sexual assault cases were taken to court; of the 55% of cases in 2016, only 2% were prosecuted. This will serve as a deterrent to families seeking redress in the justice system and embolden perpetrators to continue this sordid act.
To facilitate access to treatment for those who survived sexual abuse.
There are less than ten child psychologists and psychiatrists in Sierra Leone and these children need the support to heal from this traumatic event. Health professionals should also be trained to recognize the signs and properly manage survivors of sexual assault, to prevent further trauma.