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Interfaith Alliance

Faith Leaders Survey on OCSE

January 2020

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The Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities conducted a survey with faith leaders across the world to gauge their levels of awareness and understand the challenges that they face, in order to develop the right tools and knowledge resources to better empower them to build safer communities. The aim of survey was to measure and evaluate the level of awareness faith leaders have about online child sexual abuse and exploitation, and the actions that can be taken to combat it.

The survey was conducted with 124 faith leaders, representing 7 of the world’s largest faith communities across 29 countries, who participated in five of the six regional workshops organized by the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities, in the Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Kenya, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates. Responses were gathered from 124 faith leaders from 29 countries representing 7 major faiths.

The survey revealed that while faith leaders have high levels of awareness regarding traditional forms of child abuse, their awareness is much lower for the online and electronic forms of child abuse such as CSAM, sextortion, live-streaming and other information technology-based crimes and dangers. Survey results showed the majority of faith leaders agreed that they could play a leadership role in combatting OCSE within their communities. However, they face various challenges including low levels of awareness and lack of access to relevant information. In addition, the survey showed that leaders from the same faith tradition and region had varied levels of awareness of OCSE and the actions that can be taken to combat it.

The survey findings demonstrated the importance of developing educational and awareness materials for faith leaders to increase awareness of OCSE. Strategies need to be shared with faith leaders, highlighting the actions that they can take to increase awareness, react responsibly to cases of abuse and partner with other stakeholders in their communities. It is also important for faith leaders to engage with other leaders within and outside of their faith in their regions, to share experiences, knowledge and best practices

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