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1 in 4 children and adolescents say they are exposed to sexual abuse

1 in 4 girls, boys and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17 claim to be exposed to sexual abuse in their community or the environment in which they live, according to the 2021 Children and Youth Consultation applied by the National Electoral Institute (INE).

According to the survey, the sexual violence it is the third most serious problem identified by the population located in that age range. In addition, the respondents declared having been victims of violations of their body and intimacy by adults who are in charge of their care.

“The environmental problems that most affect girls, boys and adolescents from 10 to 17 years old, according to the responses in the ICJ 2021, are the discrimination they perceive (35.85% on average), inequality and violence against women. (27.14% on average), child sexual abuse (25.71% on average), as well as poverty and lack of work (24.5% on average)”, quote the conclusions of the Consultation.

The survey was applied to 6.9 million people in age groups ranging from 3 to 17 years and from all states of the country. The exercise was carried out in November 2021 and focused on collecting the experiences of minors throughout the pandemic.

Read more | Child sexual exploitation: patterns that have been identified in schools in Mexico

Unlike the 2018 Child and Youth Consultation –which was the most recent–, the 2021 consultation included specific questions about physical and psychological abuse suffered by children and adolescents in places such as home, school, work, etc. shelters or the street, spaces where minors are in charge of parents, tutors, caregivers or teachers.

Through boxes installed in schools and district boards, and through an internet site enabled as an electronic ballot box, 597 thousand 420 people from 3 to 5 years old (8.57%) were surveyed; 2 million 034 thousand 389 from 6 to 9 years old (29.16%); 2 million 582 thousand 101 between 10 and 13 years old (37.01%), and 1 million 762 thousand 929 between 14 and 17 years old (25.27%).

Of the total, 2.9 million people (42.7%) are girls and adolescent women; 2.7 million (38.9%) are male children and adolescents; 65.8 thousand (0.9%) expressed that they do not identify with any of these gender identities, and 1.2 million (17.4%) did not specify that information.

One question was: “How much do the adults who take care of you respect your body and your privacy?” Of the surveyed population aged 10 to 17, 25% (1.1 million girls, boys and adolescents) responded that adults “never” respect their bodies and intimacy, while another 13% (564,853) said that “sometimes ” they respect it.

The question about physical and psychological abuse included other possible answers such as hitting, shouting and insults, punishment and contempt. The survey did not detail the context of the attacks or the adult figure who committed them.

Specifically in the age group from 10 to 13 years old, 16.34% (421 thousand 915 people) responded that child sexual abuse is the problem that most affects them.

In addition, 10,700 people between the ages of 3 and 5 said they had witnessed that “the bodies of boys and girls are not respected,” although the place or which adult committed the attack was not specified.

Sexual abuse has a more acute impact on children and adolescents in vulnerable situations.

For example, of the girls, boys and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17 who identify themselves as indigenous, 17.52% said that sexual abuse is the risk they most identify in their community or environment. The figure was 24.25% among the population living in shelters; 21.78% among those who live on the streets; 18.72% among people with disabilities; 16.44% among people of African descent, and 16.25% among migrant people.

In the 2018 Child and Youth Consultation, the only question aimed at documenting this type of abuse was whether the person surveyed had been a victim of sexual violence in the last year. 9.9% of adolescents between 14 and 17 years old answered “yes”, without the methodological instrument allowing them to provide greater precision.

In the 2015 Consultation, the response to that question among the same age group was 11.6%.

Although the 2021 Consultation report was made public in April, last Wednesday the president of the INE, Lorenzo Córdova, presented the results before the Congress of Nuevo León, where he called for the opinions of people under the age of 18 to be taken into account. account by legislators for the creation of public policies.

“I am sure that the results of this Consultation will be valuable inputs for the design of laws and public policies that contribute to the generation of more favorable conditions for the development of children and adolescents in Mexico and for a substantive and sustainable democracy” , said.

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