Interventions addressing ritualistic child sexual abuse in post-conflict Eastern DRC: Reflections on child welfare policy and programming

Amani C Kasherwa & Janestic M Twikirize - International Social Work


Ritualistic child sexual abuse (RCSA) is an under-recognized and poorly addressed form of child maltreatment. Despite a relative decrease of war-related sexual violence in post-conflict Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the existing monitoring reports leave no doubt that RCSA remains a public health problem of high significance. While RCSA requires urgent action, little has been done to address it. This article critically examines RCSA as a predatory form of child maltreatment and the lack of relevant child welfare interventions to address it. Based on a broader empirical study of ‘RCSA in post-conflict Eastern DRC’, the article argues that although RCSA is not socially condoned by the communities, the interventions on the ground are inadequate for addressing this phenomenon. The article also suggests some perspectives for addressing the phenomenon, in addition to some reflections on child welfare policy and programming as well as implications for social work training and practice.