Worldwide, around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex in their lifetime. Boys are also at risk, although a global estimate is unavailable [UNICEF]

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Sexual violence is one of the most unsettling of children’s rights violations. As such, it is the subject of dedicated international legal instruments aimed at protecting children against its multiple forms. Acts of sexual violence, which often occur together and with other forms of violence, can range from direct physical contact to unwanted exposure to sexual language and images. ‘Sexual violence’ is often used as an umbrella term to cover all types of sexual victimization.[1] Although children of every age are susceptible, adolescence is a period of pronounced vulnerability, especially for girls.

[1] “Sexual violence against children encompasses both sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children and can be used as an umbrella term to refer jointly to these phenomena, both with regard to acts of commission and omission and associated to physical and psychological violence.” Interagency Working Group on Sexual Exploitation of Children, Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, ECPAT International and ECPAT Luxembourg, Rachathewi, Bangkok, June 2016, p. 16, open PDF from .

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