Brazil’s Committee on Sexual Violence against Children (Comitê Nacional de Enfrentamento da Violência Sexual Contra Crianças e Adolescentes) reports that 60% of the cases it investigates take place within the family, involving parents or other adult relatives who assault children.
According to Neide Castanha, the executive secretary of the committee, the remaining cases involve sexual exploitation of children for commercial reasons.
Brazil’s Committee on Sexual Violence against Children was set up in 2002. This week it is participating in a conference on the issue (Consulta Nacional Sobre Violência Contra a Criança e o Adolescente), an event sponsored by UNICEF and the United Nations, and the Brazilian Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Combat.
Castanha explains that the issue is difficult. "It is a very private matter, involving family relations and invasion of privacy. On the other hand, there is a large degree of social tolerance concerning sexual violence against children because it is not considered a crime by many, but a problem of inter-personal relations."
She says an attempt is underway to quantify the problem. "We have data showing that the problem is serious in Brazil. Everywhere in Brazil: in the city and the countryside, as well."