February 1, 2023

A recent study concluded that existing mechanisms for identifying child victims of neglect, violence, abuse and sexual abuse continue to be hampered by many factors, including lack of knowledge and reporting procedures, which can also be slow and complicated due to cultural reluctance or fear of reprisals. and insufficient human resources.

In a study prepared by the Moroccan association AMAN and the GBI Global Children’s Initiative in collaboration with ECPAT, the findings of which were previously published by Hespress, made several recommendations aimed at improving the lives of children and providing them with additional protection.

The document states that “the legislature does not guarantee equal protection of children from sexual exploitation and abuse”, calling for a single legal definition of the term “child” in accordance with international standards and its use in various laws; Thus, it should cover children between the ages of 15 and 18 and deal with legal provisions and preventive measures for child victims of sexual violence.

The study proposed amending article 408 of the Criminal Code to criminalize the act of harming a child over 15 years of age, beating him or intentionally depriving him of food or care to the extent that this endangers his health, emphasizing also that perpetrators of sexual abuse with regard to children should have legal consequences if they commit a crime related to the loss of virginity to the victim, regardless of the sex of the latter (amending Article 487 of the Criminal Code).

The study called for the inclusion of boys in the scope of article 486 of the Criminal Code for rape, and also called for the article to be revised in line with international standards, focusing on the status of the victim rather than his gender, in order to ensure that boys and girls are given equal protection in the event of rape.

Among the recommendations of the study is the need to change social norms and accepted attitudes (mentalities) that “could increase children’s exposure to sexual abuse, and this could prevent them from revealing abuse and acting as victims in cases of sexual exploitation and abuse.”

It stated that “Parents, guardians, educators and children should have access to protection and care without fear of judgment or judgment from staff. This especially requires a change of mind about social norms; like patriarchy, patriarchy or even chauvinism.”

He also recommended that targeted awareness campaigns be developed as part of national prevention strategies and community action against harmful norms, explaining that “social workers need more training and work tools to be able to identify signs of sexual violence and initiate discussion on this issue.” . and to guide and support them in some way.”

The study calls for capacity building of frontline workers (social workers, medical workers, lawyers…) based on their needs assessment and evaluation of existing services (such as psychological support).

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