Raising Awareness about Child Abuse and Exploitation in the Pacific – Pacific Games 2023 Campaign

In collaboration with UNICEF Pacific, the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sports (SINIS), the Solomon Islands Government, the 2023 Pacific Games Solomon Islands and other partners, It’s a Penalty have launched our latest campaign to #keepkidssafe during the 2023 Pacific Games.

We are honoured to be joined by Solomon Islands athletes in our efforts to raise awareness about the pressing issue of child abuse and exploitation.

To fight child abuse and exploitation, our campaign aims to:

  • EDUCATE about the need to safeguard children from abuse and exploitation, particularly in sport and from offenders in positions of trust, as well as the signs to look out for #knowthesigns
  • EQUIP children, parents and caregivers, sports organisations and coaches, sporting fans, tourists and the general public with ways to find support and how to report any concerns
  • ENCOURAGE people to make a report if they suspect abuse or exploitation is taking place

Why the Pacific Games?

The multi-sport Pacific Games will take place between 19 November and 2 December 2023. This is the largest event that Solomon Islands has ever hosted, with 5,000 athletes from 24 Pacific nations expected to compete in 24 sports. Infrastructure to support the event includes a new national stadium – the Pacific Games Stadium. The theme is “Challenge, Celebrate and Unite”, and also to deliver ‘a safe and green games’. A leatherback sea turtle, named Solo, has been chosen as the mascot. The aim is to leave a legacy for the young and future generation of Solomon Islanders and act as the single largest unifying event for the nation.

Key Statistics

Child abuse and exploitation in the Solomon Islands and across the Pacific.

  • Sexual abuse against boys and girls in the Pacific is a major issue of concern.
  • According to one report, on average 10.5% of adolescent girls in eight Pacific countries experience sexual violence.
  • In the Solomon Islands, 37% of women aged 15–49 reported being sexually abused before the age of 15.
  • In Australia, more than 1 in 3 girls and almost 1 in 5 boys have experienced sexual abuse.
  • 1 in 5 tamariki in Aotearoa New Zealand experience sexual abuse before the age of 18.

Abuse and exploitation in sports settings.

  • High profile cases of young athletes being abused whilst competing have drawn attention to the issue of child protection in sports all over the world.
  • One study found that 11% of female athletes from Oceania reported sexual abuse.
  • A 2023 study of Australian community sport found that 82% of respondents experienced violence in sport as a child.

About the Campaign

Our campaign film and posters will reach audiences across the Solomon Islands and beyond during November and December 2023 through collaboration with Solomon Airlines, regional airports, social media outreach and other key partnerships.

Collaborators include: UNICEF Pacific, The Solomon Islands Government, 2023 Pacific Games Solomon Islands Organising Committee, SINIS, British HC in Solomon Islands, Brisbane Airport, Solomon Airlines, Honiara Airport and International Safeguards for Children in Sport

To find out more about the Campaign and engage with our activities, visit our webpage.

Written by Elizabeth Speller

Advocacy Director, It’s a Penalty