Indonesia Joining Forces successfully advocated for a strong act on Criminalization of Sexual Harassment
ChildFund, as part of Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children successfully advocated for a strong act on Criminalization of Sexual Harassment. Eleven recommendations from JF Indonesia were accepted as the bill turned into law last month. To achieve this, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children has been very active in developing legal analysis from child rights and protection perspective and lobbying the parliament. The Indonesia Joining Forces has also carved a name of itself in the media now, as a voice to be heard when it comes to violence against children.
To end the sexual violence against children, there was a need for a legal umbrella, which is finally represented by the sexual violence crime bill. The bill’s journey started in 2012, when it was first initiated. Approximately ten years later, in 2021, the bill finally made it to the national legislation program (program legislasi nasional/prolegnas). To accelerate the enactment of the bill, the government appointed the national task force on the sexual violence crime bill led by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection (KPPPA) and involved other ministries.
In January 2021, to respond to the bill included in the prolegnas, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children agreed to focus on advocacy and campaign work, specifically on children’s protection against sexual violence through enacting the sexual violence crime bill (RUU TPKS).
Initiatives to Ensure a Bill that Protects Children from Sexual Violence
Since 2021, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children has taken an active part in ensuring the bill can protect children from sexual violence through several initiatives, namely; providing policies reviews from the draft version in March 2021, conducting media briefings, submitting the issues inventory list against the November 2021 bill draft, publishing six policy briefs on sexual violence against children while highlighting several issues such as child marriage, online sexual violence against children, and finally publishing one report on children consultation on sexual violence against children which involved 64 children and youth in a survey and through a focus group discussion (15 children and 13 youth).
Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children took an active part in a series of ministries public consultations and audiences with parliament members. Through these involvements, Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children have highlighted that the government and parliament must see this bill beyond adult issues but also children’s issues. Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children also believe that throughout the bill’s journey, children’s aspirations must be heard as well.
In the final review of the bill draft among parliament members and the government, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children closely monitored the process by sending requests to the parliament members to provide their time for audiences and providing inputs on specific topics/points of the bill through direct messages to any parliament members.
Throughout these initiatives, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children was not working alone and had been collaborating with children and youth-led organizations, namely Jaringan AKSI (a coalition of 41 organizations and individuals that fight for children’s rights) and the Alliance for the Elimination of Violence Against Children/PKTA (an alliance of 31 organizations and individuals that fight for children’s rights).
The Sexual Violence Crime Bill was Finally Passed
After a long-awaited journey, the parliament finally passed the bill on 12 April 2022. Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children appreciated all parties involved in presenting the sexual violence crime law that comprises articles which protect children according to their experience on this matter. The advocacy works of Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children have managed to ensure the Law include several vital points such as child marriage and online gender-based violence.
These are the recommendations from Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children that were accepted:
- Forced marriage is one of the articles that provide legal guarantees for children to avoid being forced into child marriage.
- Sexual violence against children in various forms is not a complaint offense.
- Sexual activity with children or involving children is a form of sexual crime.
- The consent or will of the child in a sexual act does not invalidate the lawsuit against the perpetrator.
- Weighting the threat of punishment for perpetrators when sexual crimes are committed against children.
- Guarantees for victims to get restitution from the perpetrators and/or compensation from the state through the Victim Assistance Fund.
- The guarantee for the payment of restitution is carried out by confiscation of the perpetrator’s property where this process is still carried out by guaranteeing the rights of the perpetrator’s family not to become a new victim. Among them are guaranteeing the rights of children from perpetrators so that they are not abandoned when there is confiscation of the property of parents who are perpetrators of sexual violence.
- Restitution guarantee is paid to the victim if the perpetrator is a child. Those responsible for paying are the parents or guardians of the perpetrator and if their assets are not sufficient to pay for restitution, the state will pay compensation to the victim through the Victim Assistance Fund.
- Comprehensive restoration of victims’ rights which includes social rehabilitation, mental and spiritual rehabilitation, including economic recovery and social reintegration.
- The implementation of integrated services through UPTD PPA is mainly related to trained human resources, has gender sensitivity and human rights.
- Protection of victims of sexual violence through electronic media where victims have the right to apply for access restrictions and removal of the content in question.
However, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children noted several issues that the bill has not adopted. The bill still mentions perpetrators for children, which Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children assesses will have the potential to label children as perpetrators for the rest of their lives. Previously, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children has suggested “children in conflict with the law” as a more appropriate diction for this case. Unfortunately, this was not considered in the discussion.
Additionally, there is an absence of arrangements regarding the prevention of pregnancy and menstruation cycle treatments which are important for victims, especially children. Pregnancy and menstruation cycle disruption for victims of sexual violence can add to the burden and prolonged trauma. Therefore, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children sees the importance of having pregnancy prevention services for victims of sexual violence that can be carried out by medical personnel. The availability of these services can reduce the impact on the mental health of victims. Lastly, regarding the discussion of article 6 paragraph C, the article does not explicitly describe the form of child grooming.
Considering several lacking points in the Law, Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children has decided to continue monitoring the government regulation (peraturan pemerintah/PP) after enacting the sexual violence crime law to ensure that those concerns will be covered in the regulation. This monitoring is also our commitment to providing the fulfilment of children’s rights and protection within the government policies.
Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children
The enactment of the sexual violence crime bill is the beginning of a journey to ensure Indonesia is free from sexual violence. All parties, including the government, parliament, media, civil society, and young people, need to maintain and supervise the implementation of these policies. We hope this Law can be immediately incorporated into a Government Regulation that regulates the prevention, reporting, handling and recovery of victims more thoroughly.
The successful adoption of eleven advocacy points into the new bill is a clear example of what Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children can achieve together at the national level.
Children and sexual violence in Indonesia
Children still face sexual violence. The Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs in 2017 revealed the prevalence of sexual violence among children with boys at 6.3% and girls at 6.28%. Data from Wahana Visi Indonesia from October 2020 to June 2021 discovered that among 73 violence cases that occurred to children, only 7 of them went through a legal process.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, sexual violence against children, particularly in the online spheres, has intensified. An interview done by Plan Indonesia with 500 children in 2020 recorded that 96% of children respondents experience online sexual violence.
What is Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children?
Indonesia Joining Forces to End Violence Against Children is an alliance founded in 2018, comprising the six most prominent international NGOs (ChildFund International di Indonesia, Yayasan Plan International Indonesia, Save the Children Indonesia, SOS Children’s Villages Indonesia, International Terre des Hommes Federation, and Wahana Visi Indonesia). The alliance works with and for children and young people under the age of 18 to protect their rights and end violence against them.