“One out of three girls and one out of five boys will be exploited by the age of 18, 90% are by someone they know,” was one of the imperative statements issued by Dr. Alaa Murabit, one of the keynote speakers at the GNRC 5th Forum. Guided by the Forum’s three subthemes namely: the role of Faith Communities in Protecting Children from Violent Extremism, Gang Violence and Organized Crime; Nurturing Spirituality and Ending Violence in Child Upbringing; and Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children, faith leaders, professionals, analysts and activists explored the reality of violence against children globally.
The argument was that very little attention had been put on the issue of violence against children and that religious voices are weak. It was pointed out during various thematic panel discussions that religion plays a vital role in offering spiritual guidance and comfort to children, youth and the community, thus faith leaders should be given more platform to nurture such skills in people. More faith-based and interfaith programs that address child violence should be increased. Extra attention was also given to experience sharing so as to offer an avenue for learning and call to action. It was also pointed out that religious leaders should be ready to take up vital roles in ending violence against children and not wait for the professionals to give them a ‘green light’.