Global Health Coalition

Addressing child sexual abuse and exploitation as a public health crisis

Together with leading healthcare institutions and pharmaceutical companies, we aim to shape the future of the world’s battle against child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“Our commitment is to build and execute a coordinated global attack on the hidden crisis of sexual abuse and exploitation in the same way we have attacked other health crises.”Dr. Franz B. Humer, ICMEC Chairman, Retired Chairman of Roche Holding Ltd.

The sexual abuse and exploitation of children is dauntingly pervasive in nations across the world, regardless of income and development levels. The world’s primary response to the problem has been through law and law enforcement. That response is vital, but it is not sufficient. Despite important efforts on the part of the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and other leading international bodies, there has been no comprehensive global effort to understand the problem as a public health crisis and to address it as such.

At the conclusion of our 2011 Rome Forum, participants adopted The Declaration of Rome, which, among other things, established the Global Health Coalition (GHC). Members of the Global Health Coalition include leading pharmaceutical, hospital and other healthcare leaders. The GHC exists to address child sexual abuse and exploitation as a public health crisis by:

  • Promoting epidemiological and clinical research: We need to understand the true magnitude of the problem and its impact on a child’s health.
  • Improving victim recognition and identification: Child sexual abuse and exploitation are severely underreported.
  • Identifying gaps in victim services and improving those services: In much of the world, the systems in place to respond to victims are poorly developed.
  • Intervening earlier to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation: The origins of perpetrator behavior lie in developmental experiences.
  • Launching a global prevention campaign: Prevention is the cornerstone of our effort to end child sexual abuse. Prevention begins with awareness.

Currently the GHC is working to promote changes in international medical codes to include specific codes for sexual exploitation, and to develop a training program specific to healthcare providers and others in child-serving professions, the goal of which is to increase the number of adults who understand the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation and who are competent to intervene.