Last February 6, Stairway launched the Break the Silence National Network in collaboration with the Council for the Welfare of Children. This was a kick-off event in the observance of the 2017 National Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Week and Safer Internet Day 2017. The BtS network is a coalition of 45 active organizations coming from 10 regions in the Philippines, working together to address the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation, which includes the emerging trend of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
Messages of support was given during the launching by:
Ambassador Jan Top Christensen, Embassy of Denmark PH
Dir. Alicia Bonoan, Protective Services Bureau, DSWD
Atty. Carmela Andal – Castro, Consuelo Foundation
Ma. Stella Echano, Country Coordinator, Kindernothilfe
Lotte Sylwander, Country Representative, UNICEF
USEC Atty. Alberto Muyot, Department of Education
Patricia Luna, Exe. Director, Council for the Welfare of Children
Dir. Wilma Naviamos, Regional Director, DSWD MIMAROPA
Aside from this, the BtS network also reiterated its strong opposition to the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility of children, as the network recognizes that aside from being a violation of children’s rights, it also puts children at a higher risk for sexual abuse and exploitation.
Attended by partners from the government and civil society, the event highlighted the importance of building a collaborative network in order to address the multifaceted problem of child sexual abuse and exploitation.