Report: ”Everything that is not a yes is a no”

ECPAT’s report “Everything that is not a yes is a no” is about children´s everyday exposure to sexual crimes and their protective strategies. The report is based on ECPAT’s survey “Nude Online” (Nude på nätet 2021) in which almost 13,000 children participated, between the ages of 10-17 years. In the survey children have shared their experiences of being subjected to crime, and their protection strategies.  

The study shows that children create their own strategies to manage their exposure to crime online. The aim is to find ways to navigate among risks that exist on platforms, games and apps which are important to their social lives. Thus, children manage everything from social contacts, entertainment and relationships to serious sexual crimes, within the same environment. It is also clear that many children lack knowledge of what is legal and not when it comes to certain sexual crimes online.  

The results show that exposure to crime starts at an early age and that the majority of girls in the study have been subjected to crime. 

80% of girls aged 10-13 have received unsolicited nude photographs. 

Around 1500 of the children who participated in the study also responded to in-depth questions about their experiences of sexual crime. It turned out 80% of the girls in the youngest age group, 10-13, had received unsolicited nude photographs, which was higher than expected. In the same group 46% had been offered money for nude photographs.  

“We see in our study that children as young as 10 are being subjected to sexual crimes online, and learn to live with that as part of their everyday lives. It is not acceptable that children at an early age should get used to being subjected to crime, without any adult support”, says Anna Karin Hildingson Boqvist, Executive Director of ECPAT Sweden. 

Children often subject other children to crime. 

It is a known fact that adults subject children to sexual crime. But the report also shows that it is common for children to subject other children to crime. There is often an age difference, where an older child subject a younger child. It can also be schoolmates, friends, partners and ex-partners who subject the children to crime, which makes the situation more difficult for the victim to handle since they know the perpetrator.  

– It is clear that the children place a large part of the responsibility for their own safety on themselves. If they are exposed to a crime, they blame themselves. These feelings of guilt and shame make it difficult for the child to talk about what has happened. Therefore, adults must take the responsibility of removing the blame from the victim, says Anna Karin Hildingson Boqvist. 

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