International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children Australia Ltd

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Quick Insights – Words Matter

September 8, 2023
Using the right terminology when engaging in public discourse about child sexual abuse and exploitation

We all have a role to play when it comes to protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. As a response community, and a society in general, one of the easiest ways that we can contribute to creating better and safer outcomes for children is by using consistent and correct language.

The words that we use matter.

Whoever you are, we can work together to help make the world a safer place for children by supporting victim-survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation by engaging in meaningful public discourse with the appropriate terminology. The Luxembourg Guidelines ‘for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse’ were developed in 2016, and set a global standard for the correct language to use when discussing this heinous crime.

Using victim-centric, trauma-informed language helps create a safe environment for children to report abuse, and remove the stigma that has surrounded this crime for too long.

ICMEC Australia has created a summary of the Luxembourg Guidelines for reference on the right terminology to use when discussing this crime.

Download your copy of this resource here

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