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“Sexual assault against children is an urgent human rights issue and fighting it should be a political priority”. (Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, 2011)

No violence against children is justifiable; all violence against children is preventable. (UN Global Study on Violence Against Children, 2006) 

The Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as “the Lanzarote Convention”, requires criminalisation of all kinds of sexual offences against children. It sets out that states in Europe and beyond shall adopt specific legislation and take measures to prevent sexual violence, to protect child victims and to prosecute perpetrators.

The Lanzarote Committee (i.e. the Committee of the Parties to the Convention) is the body established to monitor whether Parties effectively implement the Lanzarote Convention. The monitoring
procedure is divided by rounds, each round concerning a theme.


As available data shows that the majority of sexual abuse against children in Council of Europe countries is “committed within the family framework, by persons close to the child or by those in the child’s social environment” (see Lanzarote Convention Explanatory Report, paras. 48 and 123-125), the Lanzarote Committee decided that the first monitoring round would focus on “sexual abuse of children in the circle of trust”.


To set this first monitoring round in motion, the Lanzarote Committee prepared a “Thematic Questionnaire” to collect specific information on how Parties implement the Lanzarote Convention with respect to the situation of sexual abuse of children in the circle of trust. In addition it also prepared a “General Overview Questionnaire” to collect information to have a general framework within which it will assess replies by Parties to the thematic questionnaire.

All Parties to the Lanzarote Convention should reply to both questionnaires by 31 January 2014
. All Parties shall in fact be monitored at the same time. The outcome of the monitoring process will be an implementation report concerning all Parties.


Representatives of civil society involved in preventing and combating sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children may reply to both questionnaires as well by the same deadline.


States having signed but not ratified the Lanzarote Convention are warmly encouraged to reply to the General Overview Questionnaire by the same deadline. These replies will provide the Lanzarote Committee with a broader general framework of the situation.


The questionnaires are available here:
General Overview Questionnaire
Thematic Questionnaire

A non-exhaustive summary of the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and European Committee of Social Rights is available here: Reference document T-ES(2013)07


The deadline for submitting replies to is 31 January 2014. This deadline is identical for both questionnaires and anyone replying.