Vital advice for parents and families fleeing Ukraine

Protecting our children from sexual violence

Parenting experts in DSPI at the University of Oxford have created a set of vital tips and advice for families affected by the war in Ukraine to prevent child trafficking and sexual abuse.

The latest advice has been added to an existing set of vitally-needed support around helping parents and children cope and has already reached more than 9.5 million people, through 96 organisations including governmental and non-governmental organisations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

These resources, developed by the Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) team are in collaboration with a range of hugely-respected organisations listed at the foot of this page.

The latest tips offer advice on:

  • Preventing child trafficking
  • Preventing child sexual violence
  • Helping children when someone they love dies

The team worked with the University’s Ukrainian community as well as volunteers from within and outside the University to translate the resources into 16 regional languages including Ukrainian and Russian.

Professor Lucie Cluver said: 'Children have experienced and witnessed violence, death, displacement, and separation, all of which are serious risks to their mental health and wellbeing. We had to swiftly respond to the developing situation for families in Ukraine.'

Dr Isang Awah added: 'Fortunately, we were able to build on existing relationships and partnerships from our COVID-19 work. These partnerships have been greatly helpful in reaching parents and caregivers with these much-needed resources.'

DPhil student Kathleen Murphy said: 'With the number of people fleeing Ukraine now estimated at over 5.8 million, and millions more displaced inside the country, children are at heightened risk of trafficking and exploitation.

'We therefore developed and launched this new set of tips to offer practical tools to parents for preventing child trafficking, preventing child sexual violence, and helping children when someone they love dies.'

The team, whose COVID-19 pandemic advice for families was downloaded more than 200 million times, had swung into action when the conflict began over two months ago. The resources are available online and disseminated by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, other international organisations, and multiple charities.

Accessing the Parenting Resources:

All of the tips are open source, and can be downloaded in PNG and PDF format, to allow sharing and editing.


The PLH team worked with WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNODC, University College London, the University of Cardiff, the Global Protection Cluster Child Protection Area of Responsibility, the International Rescue Committee, World Without Orphans, the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Collaborative, the Early Childhood Development Action Network, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, Maestral International, Changing the Way We Care, and Save the Children.