By Niraj Chokshi

At least five states are weighing making it harder for rapists to get parental rights.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says she has opened a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Fatou Bensouda said she had received reports of "extreme brutality by various groups".

Tens of thousands of Muslims have already fled to Cameroon and Chad.

CAR, one of Africa's poorest nations, has been in chaos for more than a year after Muslim rebels seized power.

By Mariano Castillo and Richard Allen Greene, CNN


(CNN) -- In an unprecedented report, a United Nations committee slammed the Vatican's handling of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and accused the church of protecting itself rather than the victims.

The Vatican should establish an "independent mechanism for monitoring children's rights" to investigate complaints and work with law enforcement, according to the report, which was released Wednesday.

By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

The American Civil Liberties Union released an online "toolkit" on Wednesday outlining ways local advocates can improve conditions for LGBT prisoners across the country.

It also provides information on how LGBT prisoners can protect themselves.

In its announcement, the ACLU said lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inmates in the United States face increased levels of sexual harassment, sexual assault and physical isolation.

6 February 2014 – United Nations officials today called for a complete end to genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) to ensure the dignity, health and well-being of every girl, noting that despite a century of efforts, millions of girls worldwide are still threatened by the horrible practice.

5 February 2014 – The United Nations Committee monitoring compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, briefed reporters in Geneva today, highlighting the achievements and challenges in regards to child protection in Congo, Yemen, Portugal, Russia, Germany and the Holy See.

Expert members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, including its Chairperson, Kirsten Sandberg, detailed the body's conclusions at the end of its 65th session, which ran in Geneva from 13 to 31 January 2014.

The adopted daughter of Woody Allen has renewed claims the filmmaker "sexually abused" her as a child in 1992.

In an open letter, Dylan Farrow accuses Mr Allen of molesting her in a "dim, closet-like attic" at the age of seven.

Ms Farrow, now 28, also criticises Hollywood's continued celebration of "a predator [who] brought chaos into our home".

Mr Allen was investigated over the abuse allegations at the time of the incident, but was not charged.

A panel of psychologists, appointed by US prosecutors and the police, concluded that Dylan had not been molested.

By Gil Aegerter and Joel Seidman, NBC News

Sexual abuse of children by teachers or other public school employees is likely underestimated because of a patchwork reporting system and involvement of numerous local, state and federal agencies in investigating such claims, according to a new government report obtained exclusively by NBC News.

By Patricia Leigh Brown

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — Toni J., an effervescent 16-year-old who talks on speed-dial, lives with 11 family members in West Oakland, on a street buffeted by gang activity and poverty. Her mother died of an overdose, her father in a revenge shooting. In ninth grade, she was raped while on probation for shoplifting.

NOTE: This article contains disturbing content that may be triggering for some readers.


By Jethro Mullen and Jessica King

(CNN) -- An Australian commission is hearing allegations of the physical and sexual abuse of boys in the care of the Salvation Army over several decades.

The shocking treatment at some of the organization's boys homes included rape, beatings, locking boys in cages and, in one case, forcing a boy to eat his own vomit, the commission was told Tuesday.


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