Child Sexual Abuse in Asia have a Faith-based Response

KUALA LUMPUR(March 12): Child abuse case has been given much media attention lately as more and more people including priests are allegedly involved in the case and as a matter of fact Christians role to this crime is very crucial.

To address this need Viva Network’s Asha Forum, as an affiliate of the World Evangelical Alliance, is making great strides to unite and expand a global movement addressing the epidemic of child sexual abuse.

The Asha Forum organised a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 25th and 29th February 2004, where over 50 leaders from dozen of Asian countries participated to to develop strategic 10, 5, 2 year and 90 day plans to combine their efforts to best address all forms of child sexual abuse in Asia; which was a follow-up of its first ever international Christian NGO gathering that took place in October 2002.

These leaders prioritized four areas of need which they are now beginning to address in a more coordinated way. One of The Asia Asha Forum working groups is addressing education and awareness needs, another is addressing advocacy issues, another group of organizations is working to bring healing to survivors, and the fourth working group is helping get financial resources to organizations working to address sexual abuse in Asia. Current working group action plans and consultation notes will be made public so that others can join in this coordinated effort.

Participants are already planning the 2nd Asia Asha Forum Consultation for February 2005 in order to evaluate their progress, include others in this global-linked regional strategy, adjust plans as needed, and provide some shared training, which many organizations would not have the capacity to provide on their own.

According to Michael McGill, child psychologist and founder of The Asha Forum, "We stand now at a pivotal point in history. Now is the time for us to step beyond fragmented efforts to bind together with resolve and strategy, and by the grace of God to begin to turn the tide against the growing epidemic of sexual exploitation that is ravaging our world. ...Churches are the single largest untapped resource in the fight against child sexual exploitation. They are present in every country of the world and have a mandate to protect and advocate for the abused."

As an extension of Viva Network, The Asha Forum exists to inform, unite, equip and mobilize Christians worldwide:

a) in preventing all forms of child sexual abuse, and

b) in working with sexually abused children in the context of family and community, helping them become all God created them to be. The first Latin American Asha Consultation is being planned for November 2004, and the 2nd international consultation for early 2005.

For more information visit Asha Forum website and be well informed about child sex abuse:

- John Li.