Child abuse prevention campaign "My Body Belongs to Me" 

The Swiss Association for the Protection of Children (SAPC) has extended its national child abuse prevention campaign called “My Body Belongs to Me”. With a pilot project launched on 16 April 2007 in Valais, the initiative aims to show children aged eight to 13 how they can gain better power over their own bodies and thus be in a position to better protect themselves. Using appropriate language, an interactive exhibition presents children with real-life scenarios and teaches them to recognise risk situations. "We have two objectives: reduce sexual violence against children through prevention, and create an organisation which groups together state and private anti-abuse organisations," said the SAPC president Andrea Burgener Woeffray. The campaign was very successful in German-speaking and Italian-speaking Switzerland.

Sexual violence against children in Switzerland

According to an estimation of experts quoted by Swissinfo (no precise figures exist so far), around 40,000 children are victims of sexual abuse in Switzerland each year! In 85 to 90 per cent of the cases the abuse is carried out by a family member rather than a stranger. According to SAPC, two in nine girls and one in twelve boys are sexually exploited and abused before they reach their sixteenth birthday.

To be able to offer real help to these children the issue must become an item on the socio-political agenda. The campaign contributes to a much needed endeavour to inform and educate the population at large. Upon recommendation of the government the National Council of the Swiss Parliament accepted on 23 March 2007 a proposal by parliamentarian Viola Amherd calling for the creation of a prevention service against sexual abuse of children. The service should be a national coordination point for all anti-abuse measures in the country. The proposal includes a section on measures to make it more difficult for children to gain access to violent images on mobile phones, internet and television.

 

Update: 30.05.2012

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