To mark Commonwealth Week on Wednesday 16th March 2022, It’s a Penalty hosted a virtual panel with Commonwealth experts, discussing how the Commonwealth can work together to protect children from exploitation and abuse. 

As highlighted during the panel discussion, the Commonwealth is an effective forum to prioritise and work together as a whole to address the protection of children from sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) – but this issue needs to be more of a focus. 

The Commonwealth and its member states can take steps to better protect children from CSEA. As well as at the national level, international cooperation and collaboration is key to addressing this issue, including the sharing of best practice and human rights frameworks. Governments, Commonwealth-accredited organisations, civil society, parliamentarians, law enforcement and criminal justice professionals, social workers, child rights champions and survivors all have a significant part to play.

The panel was moderated by It’s a Penalty’s CEO Sarah de Carvalho MBE. We were honoured to be joined on the panel by:

  • Dr Shavana Haythornthwaite, Head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Brian Speers, President of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association
  • Sneh Aurora, Director (London) at the Commonweath Human Rights Initiative
  • Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parlimentary Associaton
  • Dr David N. Jones, Board Member of the  Commonwealth Organisation for Social Work
  • Helen Jones MBE, Commonwealth Advocacy Adviser at It’s a Penalty

Thank you to all of our panellists for sharing their insights! We look forward to working alongside each other towards our shared goals.