Indonesia’s 2021 National Children and Youth Survey found that 3.7 percent of boys and 8.4 percent of girls surveyed experience kekerasan sexual, or “sexual violence,” over the course of their childhood. Lifetime rates of kekerasan sexual were slightly higher in urban areas than rural areas, for both boys and girls. According to data from the Indonesian Commission for Child Protection (KPAI), complaints of child sexual abuse (CSA), including “sexual violence,” “pornography,” “sodomy or pedophilia,” and “online sexual crime,” increased by 36.8 percent between 2017 and 2020, though this could be due to higher rates of reporting.
The government of Indonesia has, for the past 20 years, worked to build a legislative framework for CSA prevention and response. Law No. 23 (2002) established the rights of every child to protection and rehabilitation from sexual exploitation and created the Indonesian Commission for Child Protection (KPAI). A decade later, Law No. 35 (2014) expanded the definition of sexual crimes, specified rehabilitation rights, and increased punishments for perpetrators, while Executive Order No. 5 (2014) established the National Movement Against Child Sexual Violence, coordinating the work of the national police, attorney general, and 12 ministries to prevent and eradicate sexual crimes against children. Law No. 17 (2016) amended earlier child-protection legislation, stipulating heavier punishment for perpetrators (including chemical castration). Most recently, Indonesia passed the Sexual Violence Bill in 2022, notable for its inclusion of statutory rape, online sexual abuse, and focus on the victim’s right to treatment and recovery.
Legislation is complemented by national plans such as Indonesia’s National Strategy to End Violence Against Children, which includes provisions for CSA focusing on: (1) service provision, including the integrated child welfare service model provided by regional technical units for the protection of women and children; (2) prevention, in part through the Child Friendly City program; and (3) capacity building, through training law enforcement and service providers. While there are a range of stakeholders, the sponsoring agency of the national strategy, the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (KPPPA), implements the Community-Based Integrated Child Protection Strategy and also supports the Alliance for the Elimination of Violence Against Children (Aliansi PKTA).
While public central government expenditure data demarcates spending on child protection, budgetary commitments to combat CSA are not explicitly delineated. (See Figure 1.) Executive Order No. 5 (2014), issued to combat a “national emergency” of CSA, tasked the finance minister with allocating budgetary resources for the respective ministries. However, line items regarding implementation are not included in public budget documents. Likewise, the most notable public effort aimed specifically at CSA, the 2016 National Movement Against Child Sexual Abuse, is not mentioned in the public planning or budgeting documents of the central government or respective ministries from 2018 through 2022. According to a UNICEF analysis, less than 0.1 percent of the Indonesian central budget is dedicated to protecting children from violence in general, let alone CSA specifically.
The central government allocates funding for child protection, chiefly through the KPPPA. (See Figure 1.) The Indonesian central budget records funding for several activities potentially related to CSA administered through the KPPPA, including legislative efforts to enhance child protection, protection against violence and exploitation, and support for children in “emergency situations” or involved in pornography. The KPPPA’s 2019 work plan allocated IDR 7 million to develop “child friendly” schools and IDR 5 million to construct creative and cultural facilities for children for “Education for the prevention of child sexual [abuse],” under the activity of “Fulfillment of children’s rights to education, creativity, and culture.”
Select CSA-Relevant Budget Allocations under KPPPA Child Protection Activities
The Deputy for Special Protection of Children, a sub-department of the KPPPA, was tasked with collecting data, developing policy, and implementing services for child protection, including CSA. The deputyship was included in the 2018 central budget as a conduit for CSA-related budgetary activities, such as “Child protection from violence and exploitation.” The lack of continuity in budget documentation at the activity level makes it exceedingly difficult to analyze spending for such activities over the long term.
Since 2021, the KPPPA has partially supported the operational costs of local government units for protection services for women and children through a special fund for provincial and district governments. In an interview with FP Analytics, Milen Kidane, chief of child protection at UNICEF Indonesia, confirmed that in 2023, the KPPPA allocated IDR 132.0 billion for protection services for women and children across 240 districts and cities in 35 provinces in Indonesia. However, a child protection expert based in Indonesia suggested, in an interview with FP Analytics, that some of the integrated service centers for the protection of women and children are underfunded and may have limited budgets to execute basic activities. Consequently, some staff have used their own funds to visit victims at their homes. This testimony is illustrative of resource shortages that can sometimes persist despite the IDR 132.0 billion allocated. The KPPPA also manages Simfoni, an online system for reporting and recording data related to violence against women and children, including sexual abuse, though this expenditure is not captured in publicly available budgets and work plans.
Working alongside, and partially funded by, the KPPPA, the KPAI is an independent commission mandated to monitor child protection, receive complaints regarding the violation of child rights, and report violations of the Child Protection Law. (See Figure 2.) Central government funding allocated for the KPAI by the KPPPA decreased slightly over the monitoring period (2018–2022).
Select KPPPA Budget Allocations
The Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) has likewise been involved in CSA-related efforts, especially with respect to response. According to the End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) network, through a decentralization mechanism, MoSA funded 15 Social Child Protection Houses (RPSAs) across the country in 2020 for the rehabilitation and support of child survivors of violence, including CSA. Funding for this and similar programming may be captured through MoSA’s central budget lines for “Social rehabilitation programming,” which in 2020 included IDR 81.3 billion for “Children needing special protection,” potentially related to CSA. Other government efforts contributing to preventing and responding to CSA include the National Population and Family Planning Board’s sexual reproductive health section and the Indonesian national police’s units for the protection of women and children, for which budgeting information was not publicly available.
A review of available data indicated efforts to improve legislation on the issue of sexual abuse. The 2018 Indonesian central budget included a line for child protection through law and addressing stigmatization. (See Figure 1.) Furthermore, the 2019 central budget allocated IDR 1.0 billion for “Drafting bills to eliminate sexual violence,” including among children. In 2015, UNICEF Indonesia had highlighted CSA-related legal gaps involving incest, rape, marriage age, and the treatment of victims. In 2023, Ermawan Fitra Purnama, head of networks and institutions for the Indonesian Institution for Child Protection (LPAI) in Bekasi, in an interview with FP Analytics echoed this view, stating, “We, in the field, see that legislation/punishments against sexual violence are still not enough.”
Indonesia faces a multifaceted challenge from CSA, with improved data collection showing concerning levels of prevalence. The National Movement Against Child Sexual Violence and the National Strategy to End Violence Against Children include provisions for CSA prevention and victim support. While the country’s plans nominate responsible ministries and establish long-term goals, national budget estimates from 2018 through 2022 did not earmark funding specifically for the national movement nor the national strategy. However, the budgets and workplans of ministries such as the KPPPA and MoSA specify several programmatic areas relevant to CSA, for instance, education to prevent CSA; child protection from violence, exploitation, and pornography; and survivor rehabilitation. Furthermore, Milen Kidane explained that due to the decentralized nature of government in Indonesia, a significant amount of work addressing CSA is planned, budgeted, and implemented on a sub-national level. Future research should build on the findings of Safeguarding Childhood to examine and evaluate sub-national programs and investments to eradicate CSA.
“We, in the field, see that legislation/punishments against sexual violence are still not enough.”
Ermawan Fitra Purnama, head of networks and institutions for the Indonesian Institution for Child Protection (LPAI) in Bekasi
The 2022 Out of the Shadows index ranks Indonesia as 24th out of 60 countries for prevention, citing a lack of national plans and policies to prevent CSA as a significant gap. Echoing this finding, Frans Sondang, of the Indonesian Institution for Child Protection (LPAI) in Bekasi, stated in an interview with FP Analytics, “It is important to increase the budget for activities aimed at prevention programming.” On the other hand, the 2022 Out of the Shadows index ranks Indonesia as the world’s highest performer for response, citing good practices, including sexual assault referral programs, free medical and psychosocial treatment for survivors, legal mechanisms for victim compensation, and data collection on lifetime help-seeking for CSA. Some laws support this finding, such as Law No. 35 (2014), which emphasizes social rehabilitation, psychosocial assistance, and legal protection for victims throughout investigative and judicial proceedings. However, significant policy gaps persist; specifically, ECPAT notes that the Indonesian government does not provide rehabilitation tailored to the specific needs of child victims of sexual abuse, and that government services expire based on deadlines rather than recovery benchmarks. A child-protection expert based in Indonesia suggested that while there may be some good models of rehabilitation programs for children who fun afoul of the law, these are still limited and many children continue to be placed in juvenile prisons despite having access to free, government-supported legal aid. Child victims, especially from under-resourced families, on the other hand, are not always afforded the same level of support.
Furthermore, gaps may exist among strategies, legislation, execution, and monitoring. For example, Frans Sondang, head of LPAI in Bekasi, suggested in an interview with FP Analytics that “existing regulations are also not well-enough known by Indonesian society.” Moreover, ECPAT has suggested that the capacities of law enforcement, the judicial system, and social support services are limited by budgeting, alongside gaps in awareness and technical knowledge. Finally, existing government services are not systematically tracked or assessed. For example, the government does not conduct monitoring and evaluation of survivors after rehabilitation. Indonesia’s forward-looking policies create an opportunity for the government to couple its overarching strategy with dedicated budgetary resources, particularly in areas that can maximize the impact of programs already in place. The country’s efforts against CSA can greatly benefit from spreading awareness of legal measures, changing public perception of the availability of services, and learning from monitoring and evaluation.