Fredrik Lerneryd/Save the Children
Fredrik Lerneryd/Save the Children

PRIO has conducted a study for Save the Children estimating the number of children at risk of experiencing wartime sexual violence. A staggering 72 million children—17% of the 426 million children living in conflict areas globally, or 1 in 6—are living near armed groups that have been reported to perpetrate sexual violence against children.

To estimate the number of children in conflict at risk of sexual violence, PRIO, in cooperation with Save the Children, has calculated how many children live 50 kilometres or closer to conflicts where at least one armed actor was reported to perpetrate sexual violence against children in a given year.

The PRIO contributors, Robert Nagel, Ragnhild Nordås, Siri Rustad, Andreas Forø Tollefsen, and Gudrun Østby also find that the number of children at risk of wartime sexual violence has increased since the 1990s. Estimates for the period 1990–2019 are based on a new update of the Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict (SVAC) dataset and is part of the PRIO Conflict Trends project. The PRIO researchers have also published a Policy Brief on the topic.

Ine Eriksen Søreide, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, says to the Norwegian newspaper VG that she will bring up the results of the report at the UN Security Council. Norway will demand that perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict should be held accountable. One of the forums in which Norway is planning to convey this message is in the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict which compromises all fifteen members of the Council. Mona Juul, the Norwegian ambassador to the UN, is currently chairing the group.

Read the full Save the Children report here.

Read the new PRIO Policy Brief here.