Measuring progress towards a world free of child sexual violence.

Key Findings

Explore the most significant trends and insights from the 2022 index results. 

Overall Performance

The United Kingdom (U.K), France, and Sweden score the highest overall based on the 2022 framework of the Out of the Shadows Index.

United Kingdom

The UK’s top five rating in three out of the five categories that make up the pillars of Prevention and Response (National Capacity & Commitment and Support Services & Recovery being the exceptions) drives its first place performance overall. Of particular note are the UK’s support services for offenders, where it is one of just three countries that offers prevention services for potential perpetrators and rehabilitative services for adult offenders along with programmes to treat youth that show signs of problematic sexual behaviour.


France’s strong performance stems from its comprehensive prevention education and its monitoring and evaluation of the justice system’s response to CSEA (Childhood Sexual Exploitation and Abuse) cases. It is one of just ten countries included in the index that has guidance for youth-serving organisations on how to prevent cases of child sexual abuse; and is one of just six countries that has at least some availability of programmes to support potential offenders before they commit an act of CSEA

Income Significance

Although many of the high income economies perform well, income is not the sole driver of performance. Three of the top ten countries overall—South Africa, Indonesia and Türkiye—are middle income economies and 55% of the top 20 countries are non-high income.

Middle Income Countries

Middle income countries perform well across most categories: they hold seven of the top 11 spots in Support Services & Recovery; seven of the top 10 in Protective Legislation; and half of the top 10 in National Capacity & Commitment.

High Income Countries

Policies and Programmes is the only category where high income economies dominate the rankings and middle income countries fall behind on every sub category except Poverty & Inequality Protections. This performance gap could be a result of gaps in education provision and the persistence of harmful social norms, especially around gender and sexuality, in middle and low income economies.

South Africa

South Africa is the only country that ranks in the top 10 across all five categories of the index, providing the strongest example of a holistic approach to addressing CSEA. South Africa’s child- and victim- centred approach is evident across both their prevention and response systems. It is one of just 10 countries that has specialised courts for cases of sexual violence, including CSEA; and is one of just two countries with comprehensive laws supporting victim-survivors, including the enactment of a non-punishment provision for child trafficking victims and the elimination of the statute of limitations for CSEA cases.

Correlation Between Prevention & Response

There is a positive correlation between countries’ performance on prevention and on response (+.74), but the high-income countries — especially Canada, which tops both the Protective Legislation and Policies & Programmes categories — tend to have stronger prevention systems than response systems, while middle-income countries perform better on response. The low income economies generally fall below the 60 country average on both prevention and response; Rwanda is an exception. Its top 25% performance in both Protective Legislation and National Capacity & Commitment push it to 13th in the Prevention pillar.

Correlation Between Laws & Outcomes

The Out of the Shadows Index not only looks at the laws, policies, programmes, and initiatives that a country has in place to prevent and respond to CSEA, it also integrates outcomes data into each pillar to help measure the effectiveness of government action. For example, while 56 countries have laws prohibiting penetration between a minor and an adult, there is no correlation between this metric and the outcome metric "perceived enforcement level of statutory rape laws", indicating that the existence of laws protecting children against rape and other forms of sexual abuse might not be as effective in practice as they are on paper.

Global Index

The index benchmarks how 60 countries (home to approximately 85% of the global population of children) are preventing and responding to child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA). It is the first attempt to develop a global assessment of how countries are addressing the issue. The index does not attempt to measure the scale of CSEA in countries, but instead focuses on how stakeholders are approaching the problem at the national level as governments seek to meet the SDGs.

Download Reports


See all resources

About Us

The Out of the Shadows Index examines how stakeholders are preventing and responding to child sexual exploitation and abuse in 60 countries. It was developed by Economist Impact, is funded by the Oak Foundation, and implemented by Ignite Philanthropy.

Read About The Initiative

About the Index

The Out of the Shadows Index is the first global benchmark looking at how countries are addressing child sexual exploitation and abuse. An Ignite Philanthropy research programme, designed and developed by Economist Impact, the index examines how stakeholders are preventing and responding to CSEA in 60 countries, which covers approximately 85% of the global child population.

Read About Our Methodology