Between 10 and 30 per cent of children used for military purposes are believed to be girls, who are used in virtually all armed conflicts worldwide, mainly but not only in non-state armed groups. Like boys, girls are often used for combat, and they are especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation. 

Girls who are returning to civilian life after leaving military groups can face additional difficulties, due to the social stigma attached to the belief (accurate or not) that they have been engaged in sexual activity. For this and other reasons, existing reintegration programmes, which are designed mainly for boys, may not meet the needs of girls well. Child Soldiers International is evaluating girls’ reintegration programmes in Democratic Republic of Congo, in order to better support their successful return to community life.