Sexual abuse and exploitation of children is a major problem in Nepal. The hidden numbers are believed to be enormous. Among the underlying causes for abuse are poverty, gender discrimination, the caste system, lack of public protection systems and a culture of exploitation of children and women. Nepal ranks 39th out of 60 countries in a global survey on how countries handle issues of child sexual abuse; a significant sign of major systematic deficiency.
No qualified trauma support for children in Nepal
A major problem in Nepal is the lack of qualified trauma support for sexually abused children. A common approach is to place these children in special accommodations, where they have access to school and leisure activities – but no treatment for their traumatic experiences. To fill that gap a group of professionals, all with extensive experience of work with sexually abused and exploited women and children, founded the initiative Kumudini.
Nepal’s first emergency clinic for sexually abused girls
With support from Childhood, Kumudini established Nepal’s first emergency relief facility with qualified trauma support for sexually abused and exploited girls. Treatment includes a short-term accommodation for girls who cannot receive sufficient protection and support at home. Kumudini works closely with the girls’ families in order to engage their participation in the girls’ recovery process as well as creating conditions for the girls to reunite with their families without being blamed for the abuse. Kumudini also offers legal advice and support during the legal process. In cases where the perpetrator is a family member or close relative, reuniting the family can be impossible and dangerous. Then other solutions are required, such as a temporary/short- and long-term accommodation with relatives, friends or in a group home.
Close cooperation with the authorities
Today, Kumudini is established as a credible and important player who works closely with the police, healthcare, lawyers and local government officials throughout the process – from the discovery of abuse to the recovery and safety of the girls. Kumudini has pursued groundbreaking lawsuits, in which perpetrators have been sentenced to up to 25 years of prison. Today Kumudini’s specialist skills benefit even more children, as they also function as an important resource center for organizations who meet abused children in their work.
Photo: Susanne Drakborg