18 November: End Child Sex Abuse Day
2020 Edition - Preventing risky behaviour by children: child self-generated sexual images and/or videos
Each year, the Council of Europe invites its partners to focus on a specific topic on the occasion of the European Day.
The 2020 edition of the European Day focuses on “Preventing risky behaviour by children: child self-generated sexual images and/or videos”. The Council of Europe partners with a wide audience to celebrate the European Day including member states, civil society organisations and national parliaments. This webpage provides access to the various initiatives organised by these partners (displayed below under Activities) allowing all to share their products to generate good practices.
Children are increasingly exploring and expressing their sexuality through information and communication technologies (ICTs), in particular social media and messaging applications. This includes generating and sharing sexually suggestive or explicit images and/or videos of themselves. However, they often underestimate the risks associated with this behaviour, are under peer pressure to share such images and/or videos, or are tempted to engage in risky behaviour. It is essential to develop comprehensive prevention programmes to avoid such behaviour, as such images and/or videos may end up on the internet and may result in children being targeted for sexual coercion and/or extortion.
The Council of Europe promotes a large variety of awareness raising tools (videos, communication material, information websites, brochures, …) prepared by our partners in various languages. This set of tools can be used in the activities carried out on the occasion of this year’s edition of the European Day:
- Awareness raising tools to help preventing risky behaviours by children related to self-generating sexual images and/or videos
In Council of Europe member states
Qendra për Mbrojtjen e të Drejtave të Fëmijëve në Shqipëri (Child Rights Centre Albania (CRCA) - ECPAT Albania
Child Rights Centre Albania (CRCA) - ECPAT Albania promoted the European Day on its website and organises the following events:
- together with Barnahus-Albania and in close cooperation with the National Agency for the Rights and Protection of Children in Albania, holding of a public consultation on 17 November 2020 with all stakeholders involved in child protection system, on the “Protocol of Work for the Professionals dealing with cases of Child Sexual Violence and Exploitation”. This Protocol contains guidelines, procedures and practices for the Child Protection System in Albania, teachers and psychosocial staff in schools, psychologists, health workers, police and prosecution officers, media and any professional who is in contact, due to their profession, with children who survive sexual violence and exploitation.
- Release on 18 November 2020 of a video of CRCA/ECPAT Albania Ambassador, against child abuse and exploitation, Ms Ermonela Jaho, worldwide famous opera singer, who joins the global fight against child abuse and exploitation online and offline, raises the public awareness against these crimes and asks the public institutions to do more to protect children and young people.
- together with Barnahus Albania, the National Movement Against Child Sexual Violence and Exploitation #NEJEMI1, holding of the 1st online March for Freedom from Child Sexual Violence and Exploitation in Albania (Blue Ribbon Day), on 19 November 2020, with live broadcasts and distribution of the Blue Ribbon, a symbol of the fight against child abuse in Albania. This March aims to raise awareness on sexual violence against children and to engage the general public to fight against it.
State Agency for the Rights and Protection of the Child
The State Agency for the Rights and Protection of the Child launched the awareness raising tool “Kujdes, nuk eshte loje” (“Beware, It's not a joke”). This national campaign involves at this stage 10 municipalities, schools, community daily centers, groups of interest, children with disabilities and parents and will continue in 2021 in 61 other municipalities. The President of the State Agency and representative of Albania to the Lanzarote Committee, Ms Alma Tandili, was interviewed by EuroNews Albania to promote this campaign and explain that state institutions are making every efforts, together with their partners, to increase the children's ability to report acts of sexual violence and their trust in the reporting system.
The Government of Andorra promoted the European Day on social networks (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) and on the government website. In addition, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Housing and Youth organised on 19 November 2020 a webinar titled “Use and Abuse of New Technologies” with an expert talking about child self-generated images / videos and published on social networks.
Interpol estimates that 19 million images of child sexual abuse are shared daily on the internet or via social media. That's 78 times the number of cute cat photos shared on Instagram each day. And everyone knows that there are many. This is why, on the occasion of European Day, Child Focus launched a new awareness campaign, inviting people to share the photo of their cat accompanied by the following text : “For each photo of a cat, 78 images of child sexual abuse is shared”.
ECPAT Belgium and its partners of the STOP Group (Ministriesy of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Police; tourism sector’s associations; Plan International Belgium; Child Focus; Samilia Foundation) launched, on the occasion of the European Day, the “I say STOP!” Campaign against child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. The aim is to inform travellers about the phenomenon and to encourage the reporting of such cases.
State Agency for Child Protection (SACP)
The State Agency for Child Protection published an article on its website (in Bulgarian and English) on the theme of the 2020 edition of the European Day as well as general information on the Lanzarote Convention and Bulgaria’s actions.
In a letter to the Prime minister and the Justice and Public Administration Minister, on the occasion of the European Day, Children's Ombudswoman, Helenca Pirnat Dragicevic, called for the adoption of a separate regulation on the protection of children from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, under which persons who work with children would be checked for possible prior convictions to fill in existing loopholes in some areas (such as child care, sports and music play groups, teaching groups and summer camps). She also points to inadequate protection of children from convicted sexual offenders.
Foni (The Voice)
On the occasion of the European Day, the Foni Council called in a press release for the urgent introduction of sex education in schools, especially in Primary Education, referring to the recent publication by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR News)
The public broadcaster Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR News) published an article (in Russian) on the occasion of the European Day to warn parents on the risks faced by children on the internet and that they are easily targeted by sexual offenders.
Mr Adrien Taquet, Secretary of State to the Minister of Solidarity and Health, in charge of children and families
Video statement from Mr Adrien Taquet on sexual violence against children, on the occasion of the European Day (in French with English subtitles)
Ms Florence Provendier, Member of Parliament for Hauts-de-Seine
The newspaper La Croix published an article by Ms Florence Provendier, Member of Parliament for Hauts-de-Seine, “Confinement: protecting children against attacks by cyber-pedocriminality”, on the occasion of European Day.
The NGO CAMELEON is organising a communication campaign (Facebook, Instagram) around 18 November 2020 in partnership with Respect Zone on the risks of a sexual nature for young people linked to the Internet and social networks, highlighting its prevention file intended for the general public and especially parents and young people on 2.0 risks and cyber-pedocriminality. A live chat is also organised on 19 November 2020, on the risks of exposure of young people to pornography. Hosted by Thomas Rohmer, founding President of the Observatoire de la Parentalité et de l'Éducation Numérique, this live aims to give parents the keys to dealing with exposure to child pornography and in particular the consequences for young people in the production of self-generated sexual images / videos and risky behaviour.
Mémoire Traumatique launched, on the occasion of the European Day, a call to mobilise massively against sexual violence against children, to fight against its impunity and for the law to be amended, in particular to establish a threshold of non-consent to 15 years and repeal the prescription.
Public Health Foundation
The Public Health Foundation published 5 Facebook posts on 18 November 2020 to remind their audience about the European Day and to highlight the theme of 2020 edition:
- Post 1 - for general public - informs about the European Day and its 2020 edition and offers a hand of support through the 116 111 child helpline counseling service
- Post 2 - for children and general public - briefs the audience more in details about the aims of the November 20 and for whom this day is for
- Post 3 - for children - reminds children how to stay safe online with a new publication of a post developed in 2019
- Post 4 - for parents, educators, etc. - uses the Council of Europe material on digital parenting to explain the existing threats faced by children and how parents and careers can help children to avoid these risks
- Post 5 - for children and adults - shares the Public Health Foundation video on sexual abuse in the circle of trust
Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues
The Independent Commissioner for Child Sexual Abuse Issues (UBSKM), Mr Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, launched a campaign on its website and on social media (Twitter and Instagram), and raised the topic of the support of children and youths in their digital environments, with media representatives. The campaign contains, for instance, a personal video message and a Q&A, helpful information and advice from experts as well as practical guidance for the safe use of social media, gaming platforms and other online services.
Consulate General of Germany in Donetsk (Ukraine)
The Consulate General of Germany in Donetsk (Ukraine) posted a message on its Facebook page to mark the European Day and raise awareness on the project "Sexual violence and exploitation? I can defend myself", carried out by the NGO Ukrainian Children's Welfare Foundation, held in the eastern regions of Ukraine with the support of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany within the framework of the human rights program. The project is aimed at developing safe behaviour in adolescents to prevent and protect against sexual violence, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Klicksafe took the occasion of the European Day to support its readers in their prevention work and offered information and tips on cyber grooming and sexting on its website. It also promoted a webinar organised by eco, FSM and jugendschutz.net on “Cybergrooming, depictions of abuse, sexual violence / exploitation and Co. - what parents and guardians need to know in order to accompany children online and protect them from dangers” which took place on Wednesday 18 November 2020.
The NGO Tour41 e.V. launched the petition “Child abuse survivor fights for justice for all victims #EndChildSexAbuseDay” on the occasion of the European Day on Change.org to help bring justice to child abuse survivors.
Irish national Centre combating illegal content online
The Irish national centre combating illegal content online promoted the European Day on its Twitter account with a link to the Council of Europe tutorial for parents on Online sexual exploitation of children (Sextortion).
Irish Safer Internet Centre
On the European Day, the Irish Safer Internet Centre published a news to highlight support services available to parents, carers, children and young people and recalled that all parents and carers can help to play a role by keeping lines of communication open with children and young people and highlighting the importance of not sharing further content, not paying money, keeping evidence and reporting the offence to An Garda Síochána.
Telefono Azzurro organised the following activities on the occasion of the European Day:
- a brochure, created by the operators of the helpline 1.96.96, intended for pre-adolescents and adolescents, on the subject of sexual abuse and with references to the potential negative consequences on mental health
- an infographic for adults, with international data on the topic of sexual abuse, a reminder of the consequences on mental health and an illustration of how the helpline 114 intervenes to handle these situations
- information uploaded on Telefono Azzurro’s website on sextortion as one of the consequences of risky behaviors of children online, who upload on the Internet self-generated images or videos with explicit sexual content
- holding of a remote event on 18 November 2020 to discuss about child sexual abuse online and offline, in particular new forms of child abuse online, such as sextortion, revenge porn, online solicitation, child pornography and the sexual exploitation of minors. In addition, the debate will focus on the use of technologies capable of eliminating child sexual abuse material online
Organisation of the fourth edition of the "ECPAT Week", from 12 to 23 November 2020 with the following online awareness events, around 3 topics: the most widespread forms of sexual exploitation in Luxembourg; the different forms of sexual exploitation in the world; trafficking for sexual purposes.
On the most common forms in Luxembourg:
- promotion of the Council of Europe webinar on “Educational measures to prevent risks associated with child self-generated sexual images/videos”, Thursday 12 November 2020, from 2.00 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.
- on the same theme of self-generated images, presentation again of our comic book produced by and for young people in Luxembourg
- Promotion of the site on children's rights made with the MENJE
- series of podcasts on the subject of child sexual exploitation
On one of the most widespread forms in the world: trafficking for sexual purposes:
- articles and books related to this issue
- provision of the documentary film Not My Life for an online watching from 18 to 22 November 2020. The film takes the viewer to 13 countries and shows different forms of child exploitation, perhaps the worst of which is sexual exploitation. Not My Life gives a voice to survivors, as well as organisations like ECPAT that fight trafficking and exploitation but also shows the harsh testimony of a trafficker
- Online debate, on 23 November at 6.00 p.m., with one of ECPAT's partners in India on the Mukti project on child sex trafficking in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and the work carried out by ECPAT on the prevention, rescue and reintegration of girls
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA
Head of the Council of Europe Office in Chisinau
On 18th November 2020, Mr William Massolin, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Chisinau participated in the TV show “Dimensiunea Europeană” at national Television “Teleradio Moldova”, on the occasion of the European Day.
Council of Europe Project on Combating violence against children in the Republic of Moldova
On 23 November 2020 the Council of Europe project Combating violence against children in the Republic of Moldova organised an online presentation of the English version of the Kiko and the Hand Training for Trainers manual. The manual provides teachers, educators and professionals who work with children aged 3-6 with the necessary knowledge, skills and ideas to run sessions for prevention of child sexual abuse. A Romanian version of the manual is expected before the end of 2020.
Interview of the Chairperson of the Lanzarote Committee to Radio Free Europe
The Chairperson of the Committee of the Parties to the Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Lanzarote Committee), Ms Christel De Craim, gave an interview to Radio Free Europe, on the occasion of the European Day during which she explained the role of the Lanzarote Committee and its work on the issue of child self-generated sexual images and/or videos.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Thailand co-organised with ECPAT lnternational a Regional Consultation “Strengthening responses to sexual exploitation of children in Asia in the context of Covid-19” on 18-19 November 2020, with a strong emphasis on grooming and the importance of strong legal framework to prevent online crimes against children (watch the video summary).
Directorate General of Policy for Justice
The Directorate General of Policy for Justice published on its website the translated version into Portuguese of the Explanatory report of the Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Lanzarote Convention), which was signed by Portugal on 25 October 2007 and approved by Resolution No. 75/2012 of 28 May 2012 of the Assembly of the Republic.
National Commission for the Promotion of the Rights and Protection of Children and Young People
Like every year, the National Commission for the Promotion of Rights and Protection of Children and Young People (Comissão Nacional de Promoção dos Direitos e Proteção das Crianças e Jovens) associated itself to the European Day and:
- translated into Portuguese the leaflet produced by the Council of Europe dedicated to the specific topic of the year’s edition
- organised an event on the topic of the edition, which was, this year, a webinar involving representatives of the Judiciary Police, the Safe Internet Helpline and scholars in the field of health, forensic medicine and forensic sciences. This webinar was held on 18 November 2020, in Portuguese and in Portuguese sign language
- disseminated information on the activities carried out on the occasion of the European Day on its website (with a general page on the European Day and a specific one on the 2020 edition), on its Facebook page, on Instagram and on YouTube
- invited all the Local Commissions for the Protection of Children and Young People (Comissões de Proteção de Crianças e Jovens – CPCJ) (currently 310) to mark the European Day, including by developing activities focused on the specific topic of the edition, while disseminating the materials produced by the Council of Europe. These local commissions organised, in some cases together with other relevant stakeholders, a large variety of activities including awareness-raising actions such as webinars, talks and debates – some of which broadcasted live online and on other channels, including radio stations –, theater plays, comic-strip making, dancing, video making, video watching, storytelling, outdoor campaigns publicising the Safe Internet helpline and displaying and distributing posters and flyers in public places. Among the CPCJ which organised events in numerous places nationwide, one can find: Albergaria, Alijó, Alpiarça, Alvito, Arronches, Aveiro, Avis, Beja, Campo Maior, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Coruche, Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Fundão, Góis, Idanha-a-Nova, Lisboa Ocidental, Mesão Frio, Montijo, Moura, Paços de Ferreira, Penacova, Penamacor, Ponta do Sol, Porto Central, Santo Tirso, Sever do Vouga, Soure, Sousel, Tabuaço, Tavira, Vidigueira, Vila Flor, Vila Nova de Famalicão, Vila Nova de Poiares, Vila Verde and Vizela
Mr Luca Beccari, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Luca Beccari, made a statement to recall San Marino’s support to the European Day. He stressed, in particular the need to fight sexual violence against children and the importance of the Lanzarote Convention for this aim. He also referred to the Joint statement of Andorra, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino and Slovenia made on the occasion of the European Day and supported by all member states of the Council of Europe.
City of Niš
After having joined the Pact of Cities and Regions to stop sexual violence against children in 2012, the city of Niš marked the European Day with the performance "From Darkness to Support" on King Milan Square, with a special focus on the prevention of sexual violence.
National coordination centre for resolving the issues of violence against children
The National coordination centre for resolving the issues of violence against children (under the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family) issued a press release on the occasion of the European day with several information on this year’s topic. This can also be found on the National Coordination Centre Facebook and Instagram accounts. They promote, in particular, the Slovak version of the Council of Europe booklet “So, this is sexual abuse?”. It also highlights the nationwide campaign to protect children in the digital space launched in July 2020, which includes 5 videos, each focusing on a different risky situation that may occur in the online environment:
- Beware of content you share (Slovak, English)
- Anybody can be a victim (on sexual abuse) (Slovak, English)
- Stop hate speech on the internet (Slovak, English)
- Do not believe everything you find on the Internet (on hoaxes) (Slovak, English)
- Instagram is not a reality (Slovak, English)
Društvo SOS telefon za ženske in otroke – žrtve nasilja (Association SOS Helpline for Women and Children Victims of Violence)
The Association SOS Helpline for Women and Children Victims of Violence, in partnership with the European Women’s Network against Sexual Violence, hosted an online event on 17-18 November 2020 on the occasion of the European Day, which focused on sexual violence against children and rape.
Federación de Asociaciones para la Prevención del Maltrato Infantil (FAPMI-ECPAT) (Federation of Associations for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment)
FAPMI-ECPAT Spain published a press release on the occasion of the European Day to promote some of its work particularly relevant with the theme of this year’s edition:
- the Study “Experiencias de Intercambio de imágenes autoproducidas con contenido sexual por parte de personas menores de edad en el entorno online" ("Experiences of the online exchange of self-generated images with sexual content by children")
- the "#NavegaConSeguridad" Campaign, for the prevention of online sexual violence against children
- the Vth State Seminar on Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents "Online sexual violence against children", held online on 26-29 October 2020 and organized together with the Santander Chair of Children's Rights at the Universidad Pontificia of Comillas and with the support and funding of the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare
- Campaign to protect children in the Covid-19 crisis: Compilation of thematic infographics which address issues such as sexting, online grooming, ICT abuse by children, among others
Fundación Márgenes y Vínculos
Fundación Márgenes y Vínculos organised events on the occasion of the European Day in the 8 most important cities of Andalusia to launch its #secretosqueduelen Campaign against child sexual abuse.
Karadeniz İlleri Kadın Platformu Derneği - Kikap (The Women's Platform of Blacksea Cities)
Kikap Trabzon, in partnership with AÇSHİM and Trabzon İl Göc İdaresi Müdürlüğü, Aphganistan Hazara's Culture and Solidarity Foundations, and supported by the Province of Trabzon, Ortahisar Municipality, Bar Association, ECPAT Turkey and UNHCR, launched a new project called “Against Child Abuse and Neglect, Raise your voice, be strong and call us” to raise awareness on the Lanzarote Convention and take action with the Government. The aim is to protect children from sexual abuse on the internet and digital violence during the Covid-19 pandemic and promote several hotlines (ALO 183 Psychological-social support, ALO 112 Urgency Support Hotline, ALO 155 Police, ALO 156 Gendarmerie and ALO 157 YİMER for support to immigrants). Activities include a 45 seconds video, posters at 190 bus stops, schools, hospitals, pharmacies, mosques, Quran schools, publication of four posters in two local newspapers and broadcasting of videos by two local TV stations.
Mr Mykola Kuleba, Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine
Mr Mykola Kuleba, Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine, held an online conference on the occasion of the European Day to raise awareness on child sexual violence.
Child Well-Being Fund Ukraine
Child Well-Being Fund Ukraine promoted the European Day on its Facebook page and shared on its website links to many awareness-raising tools for children, parents, teachers and professionals, such as:
- videos on sexting: "History of Julia" and "History of Mateusz"
- materials on grooming of the "Attentive Parents" campaign
and many other materials in Ukrainian on the issue of sexual violence against children in general.
Council of Europe Office in Ukraine
The Council of Europe Office in Ukraine sent the latest information available on materials and videos of the Council of Europe that could be used, in particular, on the occasion of the European Day to several partners (ministries of Social Policy, Internal Affairs, Education and Science, Youth and Sports, the National Police of Ukraine and the Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine, as well as to the following NGOs: All-Ukrainian Charity “Child Well-being Fund Ukraine”, La Strada-Ukraine, All-Ukrainian Child Rights Network, Associations of youth councils).
Ministry of Education and Science
The Ministry of Education and Science issued a letter to the departments of education and science of regional state administrations and Kyiv City State Administration with recommendations on conducting training sessions, lectures, webinars, round tables, and other events in educational institutions. In preparation for such sessions, the Ministry recommends using the materials that were prepared and adapted within the framework of the Council of Europe project "Combating violence against children in Ukraine".
NGO "La Strada-Ukraine"
NGO "La Strada-Ukraine" celebrated the European Day and shared the following Council of Europe materials on their Facebook page: A set of six video tutorials for parents “Parenting in the digital age”, “Start to talk” video, “Tell someone you trust” video, “Learn about your digital rights” leaflet.
Ukrainian Child Rights Network
Stop children violence
Stop children violence celebrated the European Day with a Facebook message and published the “Start to talk” video to recall risks of sexual violence faced by children in sports. It also presented its study "Features of the investigation and prosecution of cases related to sexual violence against children, including online and child trafficking" during the online conference organised by Mr Mykola Kuleba, Ombudsman for Children with the President of Ukraine.
Women's Consortium of Ukraine
Women's consortium of Ukraine promoted on their website the project "Ukrainian children against cyber grooming" supported by the Council of Europe within the framework of the project EndOCSEA@Europe and the video on grooming.
Preda Foundation relayed information on the existence of the European Day on its website and the theme chosen for the 2020 edition.
On the occasion of the European day on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, the European Commission reaffirms its determination to fight child sexual abuse with all the tools at its disposal.
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said: “Under the Security Union Strategy, we are working to protect all those living in Europe, both online and offline. Children are particularly vulnerable, especially as the coronavirus pandemic correlates with increased sharing of child sexual abuse images online, and we have an obligation to protect them.”
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Imagine as a child victim knowing the worst moment in your life is still circulating on the internet. Even worse, imagine that an opportunity to be saved from ongoing abuse was missed because tools had become illegal. Companies need to be able to report so that police can stop images circulating and even save children.”
Over the last years, there has been a significant increase in child sexual abuse and exploitation cases and recently the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the situation. Europol found that as Member States introduced lockdown and quarantine measures, the number of self-produced materials increased, while travel restrictions and other restrictive measures means that offenders increasingly exchange materials online.
In July, the Commission adopted a comprehensive EU strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse. Under the Strategy, we proposed legislation to ensure that providers of online communications services can continue voluntary measures to detect child sexual abuse online.
In addition, Europol provides support to operations such as the recent action targeting child trafficking. The agency also monitors criminal trends in the Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) and dedicated reports on the evolution of threats, including child sexual abuse, in the times of COVID-19.
CHILD PROTECTION HUB
The Child Protection Hub promoted this year’s edition of the European Day on their website.
COUNCIL OF THE BALTIC SEA STATES (CBSS)
CBSS prepared a video exchange between Ms Olivia Lind Haldorsson, Head of Children at Risk Unit, CBSS, and Ms Linda Jonsson, Competence Centre Coordinator, CBSS-Sweden, to mark the European Day. This exchange highlights some key issues that Ms Jonsson have found in the research study that she supervised at the Gothenburg university, which looks into how the justice system deals and “values” cases with self-generated images.
ECPAT International took the opportunity of the European Day to publish a text on its website to highlight the increase in the online circulation of sexually explicit images and videos taken by children themselves and to alert on the risks.
EUROPEAN NETWORK OF OMBUDSPERSONS FOR CHILDREN (ENOC)
Bruce Adamson, ENOC Chair and Children and Young People’s Commissioner in Scotland, made a video statement stressing the importance of the European Day to place additional focus on training, dialogue and legal structures that we need to protect children. ENOC also campaigned through its Twitter account.
Ms Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Eurochild President, reminded all participants to Eurochild’s webinar “Putting children at the heart of Europe’s recovery”, (see at 1.30.12) that the webinar was held on the very same day as the European Day and recalled the importance to fight sexual violence against children and alerted on the risks children face when generating sexual images and / or videos of themselves.
INHOPE alerted its followers through a news item on its Facebook account on the existence of the European Day. INHOPE highlights the work carried out by a few of its partners, including the Council of Europe, and calls its followers to report to an INHOPE hotline if they come across illegal content online to get it removed from the internet and prevent further revictimization.
Microsoft promoted the following two initiatives:
- #OwnYourImage - To complement its factsheet on teen sexting written for parents, Microsoft partnered with the Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) to contribute towards a kinder, braver, and safer digital world. BTWF’s Youth Advisory Board created a sexting factsheet to better inform young people about the risks of sexting.
- Microsoft PhotoDNA creates a unique digital signature (known as a “hash”) of an image which is then compared against signatures (“hashes”) of other photos to find copies of the same image. When matched with a database containing hashes of previously identified illegal images, PhotoDNA has become an essential tool in the collective effort to detect, disrupt and report the distribution of child exploitation material. Find more information about PhotoDNA technology here.
Council of Europe
Joint statement made on the occasion of the European Day by:
- Mr Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, Greek Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs, outgoing Chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers
- Mr Heiko Maas, German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, incoming Chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers
- Ms Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
- Mr Rik Daems, President of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
During their 1388th meeting held on 12 November 2020, the Ministers’ Deputies listened to and exchanged views with Father Shay Cullen, founder of PREDA (People's Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance), a Foundation, helping and supporting child victims of sexual violence in the Philippines. They also watched a video shared by Father Cullen to illustrate the work of the Foundation.
Ms Christel De Craim, Chairperson of the Lanzarote Committee
All it takes is a second to click and send self-generated sexual images and/or videos of yourself. Take a step back and ask yourself 3 questions:
→ Do you really know that person and truly trust him or her?
→ Are you really ready to expose yourself in this way?
→ Is this really a private conversation?
A growing number of children and teenagers express their feelings through social media and information and communication technology (ICT) devices. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased this trend.
Although social media and ICT devices are an easy and practical way of connecting and getting in touch with others, there is also a downside to their use. We must not be blind to the risks children may face while using them.
The Explanatory Report of the Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (the Lanzarote Convention) states that it is not the intention of [the] Convention to criminalise sexual activities of young adolescents who are discovering their sexuality and engaging in sexual experiences with each other in the framework of sexual development.
But the Convention makes it also very clear that all necessary legislative and other measures to prevent all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children and to protect them should be taken.
This is why the Committee of the Parties to the Lanzarote Convention, the Lanzarote Committee, which I chair, is currently finalising its monitoring work on the way States implement the Convention when dealing with this issue of child self-generated sexual images and/or videos.
Although children have the right to experiment and discover their sexuality, including through the use of social media and ICT devices, they, however, also have the right to receive guidance.
We all can be that guide for our children, not only by providing sexual education, but by giving them the opportunity and space to talk about their feelings. Being a guide means also to warn them for the of the risks they take when they are on a discovery journey and are using social media and ICT devices. If children refuse us - a parent, a teacher, a caregiver – as their guide, even then we can do something: we can show them the way to other trustworthy persons, helplines, chats….
Therefore, I very welcome the 2020 edition of the European Day on “Preventing risky behaviour by children: child self-generated sexual images and/or videos”.
STEERING COMMITTEE FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (CDENF)
Ms Maria-Andriani Kostopoulou, Chairperson of the CDENF
Today, 18 November 2020, we are marking the sixth edition of the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, which was initiated by the Council of Europe in 2015.
This year, the European Day focuses on “Preventing risky behaviour by children: child self-generated sexual images and/or videos”.
In my capacity as Chairperson of the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF), I would like to emphasise our commitment to finding the right solutions to strengthen prevention of all forms of violence, which is a clear objective of CDENF’s mandate 2020-2021. Already in 2017-2018, the Council of Europe delivered the Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2018)7 on Guidelines to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment which includes a set of concrete measures that states should take to protect children.
Since then, several tools have complemented this comprehensive legal instrument:
- a child-friendly version of the Recommendation entitled “Learn about your rights in the digital environment”, because children also need child-friendly information on these matters;
- a new Guide on Parenting in the digital age, because parents also need to know how to guide their children through the digital world;
- a Handbook for policy makers, which includes useful tips and checklists for any professional working in this area and promoting the rights of the child in their professional context.
The CDENF is currently working more specifically towards appropriate responses to “harmful sexual behaviour by children” through its working group on responses to violence against children. This work takes into account the recommendations of the Lanzarote Committee in 2019 underlining that children should not be referred to judicial prosecution but to the victim support system.
The issue of self-generated images by children is a challenge that should be urgently addressed, especially as the risks of sexual exploitation and abuse have increased in the context of the lockdowns and isolation of children during the pandemic, with an increased focus on child friendly responses and through prevention, education and awareness raising. This requires also stepping up of the role of the education system and to ensure that education curricula have comprehensive sex and relationship education. This is yet another gap that could be addressed through the various mechanisms of the Council of Europe in the upcoming Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child, to be launched in 2022.
Sub-Committee on Children
The Sub-Committee on Children of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development organised a hearing of experts on 10 November 2020, as a Parliamentary Assembly contribution to the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (18 November). On this occasion, participants discussed the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse facilitated by information and communication technologies (ICTs): Addressing the challenges raised by child self-generated sexual images and/or videos, in the presence of:
- Mr Matthew B. Ezzell, Board Member, Culture Reframed
- Mr Anton Toni Klančnik, EUROPOL - O3 European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3)
- Mr Dimitri Houbron, Parliamentary Assembly Rapporteur on “For an assessment of the means and provisions to combat children's exposure to pornographic content”
The Sub-Committee on Children also published a list of helplines in Europe where children who are experiencing problems related to their self-generated sexual images and/or videos can seek advice and assistance.
Baroness Doreen E. Massey (United Kingdom, SOC), PACE Rapporteur on “Addressing sexual violence against children: stepping up action and co-operation in Europe”, and Mr Dimitri Houbron (France, ALDE), PACE Rapporteur on “For an assessment of the means and provisions to combat children's exposure to pornographic content” issued a joint statement on the occasion of the European Day.
A webinar on “Educational measures to prevent risks associated with child self-generated sexual images/videos” was organised on 12 November 2020 in the context of the EndOCSEA@Europe project, with Ms Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and Ms Christel De Craim, Chairperson of the Lanzarote Committee, as key speakers.
CHILDREN’S RIGHTS DIVISION
The Council of Europe has launched its new guidance tool on "Parenting in the digital age" containing “positive parenting strategies for different scenarios” on the occasion of the European Day. The guide promotes the idea that positive parenting practices, based on open communication and trust, should be extended into the online world, and provides hands-on advice on how to react, as a parent or caregiver, to critical situations encountered by children.