The Disrupting Harm project was established to generate high-quality evidence on technology-facilitated sexual exploitation and abuse of children. It is a research project conducted in partnership with ECPAT International and INTERPOL, funded by the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children. Together, we have developed a new research methodology to study when and how digital technology might facilitate the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, both online and offline. The goal is to identify priority areas for interventions by governments and other organizations working to protect children from these crimes.
The project has assessed the nature of this problem in 13 countries across Eastern and Southern Africa and Southeast Asia, using multiple data sources to triangulate evidence. UNICEF Office of Research - -Innocenti conducted nationally representative household surveys to collect data from 1,000 children and 1,000 caretakers per country. Our hope is that by speaking to children directly, we can better understand their experiences of online violence within the larger context of their general internet use.
The success of the first phase of the project has led to a renewed $7 million commitment in 2022 and expansion in 11 countries across 3 new regions.