Trust children, listen, observe and report

Posted on 05/19/2022 06:00

(Credit: Fernando Lopez / CB / DA Press)

Charles Bicca – President of the Commission for the Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents of OAB / DF

May 18 is National Day for the Prevention of Child and Adolescent Abuse and Sexual Exploitation, established by Act 9.970/2000, where we inform and organize the entire society to fight and protect our children and adolescents. The chosen date commemorates the tragic day of May 18, 1973, when 8-year-old Araceli was abducted, raped and murdered in Vitoria (ES). Unfortunately, his body was found burnt six days later, and his attackers, the young upper-middle-class men, were never punished.

In recent years, with the necessary measures of social isolation, there has been no worse situation for these crimes to occur, as data from Dial 100 show that 80% of child abuse and sexual abuse of children and adolescents is committed by parents. , Relatives or others who are close to the victim and, almost always, committed to the domestic environment. That is, we have been victims and criminals together for a long time.

Since the onset of the epidemic, along with rising unemployment, hunger and poverty, a scene of panic and social unrest has been observed, which has been reflected in the rise in crime and in the number of children and adolescents. Sexual exploitation, money laundering, and more than 70% of these cases were not reported. In that context, the closure of schools further aggravates the situation, as they are often an important place to identify incidents of violence against children and adolescents, as they remain there for virtually half a day.

It is also worth noting that the Brazilian Public Security Yearbook contains frightening information, such as the fact that a 13-year-old girl is raped every 15 minutes in Brazil, and 4,486 reported sexual violence from January to April this year alone. Dial 100 was created for children and adolescents. It is important to note that this is a date of national solidarity, but we must highlight the daily need to pay special attention to violence against children and adolescents, and we must report any symptoms. In other words, May 18 must be every day.

Faced with this tragic reality, and on this special date of unification and conflict, the Federal District Division (OAB / DF) of the Brazilian Bar Association last year resumed the “Believe in Children – Listen, Observe and Condemn” campaign. Distribute a booklet with informative material, videos, school visits and information, tips, laws and reporting channels against sexual abuse and exploitation of children and adolescents, which is available on our website www.oabdf. can also be downloaded from

The choice of name for the campaign is due to the fact that there are studies showing that almost 100% of reports of child sexual abuse are true and in most other cases, reports of children have been persuaded by an adult. The child may even hide it, but does not usually make up stories of sexual abuse.

In most cases, children do not report what happened out of fear, embarrassment, or even because the family broke up or did not feel guilty about arresting the attacker. It is estimated that only 10% of sexual assaults are reported. However, such crimes can be identified by a clear change in the behavior of the abused child. Look at the signs. Remember, it’s always the culprit’s fault, never the victim’s. Do not do what he does, because the reaction of disbelief in the face of abuse can exacerbate the trauma.

Most abuses occur behind closed doors and without any witnesses. And so, when the adult stops believing in the child, he further strengthens the abuser’s power over him and leaves the offender to act more independently and make new victims in the society.

We invite everyone to take part in this campaign, because not only the government but the whole society has to participate effectively in the protection of our children and adolescents. Silence has been a major ally of sexual predators and as a result, information, dialogue and condemnation will always be our greatest weapon. Trust the children: listen, observe and report.


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