The cooperation with civil society actors, particularly with non-governmental organisations is considered essential for the promotion, implementation and monitoring of the Lanzarote Convention. Besides the added value of civil society contributions in terms of expertise and field experience, impact of the work of the Lanzarote Committee is also enhanced thanks to the civil society’s involvement in it.
The Convention has been signed and ratified by all Council of Europe member States. The Russian Federation has also signed and ratified the Convention; Tunisia acceded to it and thus became the first non-European State Party. The current status of ratification is available here. Non-governmental organisations may play an important role in promoting the ratification/accession to the Convention by their governments.
Contact the Secretariat at [email protected]
Promotion and implementation of the Convention
Non-governmental organisations are key national and local partners in raising awareness on the phenomenon of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children, educating children and young people and providing training for professionals and enhancing visibility of the Lanzarote Convention for the public at large. Publications and materials produced by the Council of Europe to prevent sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children are available to NGOs for use and dissemination in several languages.
In this context, non-governmental organisations are encouraged to join the initiative to mark the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (“the European Day”), held on 18th November of each year. The general objectives of the European Day are to (1) raise public awareness of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, and the need to prevent such acts; (2) facilitate open discussion on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and help to prevent and eliminate the stigmatisation of victims; (3) promote the implementation of the Lanzarote Convention and the work of the Lanzarote Committee.
Any non-governmental organisation can organize activities with the aim to:
- raise awareness on the issue;
- educate different target groups and provide a platform for professional discussions;
- share information and enhance cooperation through multi-stakeholder meetings;
- enhance visibility through liaison with the media;
- disseminate relevant Council of Europe materials to key stakeholders.
Besides the promotion of the Lanzarote Convention at the national and local levels, non-governmental organisations are encouraged to participate in the elaboration and implementation of national policies to prevent sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children. In practice this may cover a wide variety of activities from following and getting involved in the drafting of new laws and policies to education, training and awareness-raising.
In accordance with the Lanzarote Convention, non-governmental organisations shall be provided with the possibility to assist and/or support the victims with their consent during criminal proceedings in cooperation with state authorities and in accordance with the national law. While doing so, they are encouraged to implement the recommendations of the Lanzarote Committee if these are relevant for their work. The Lanzarote Committee is always keen on receiving information about good practices in the field of prevention and protection of children against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. Those should be sent to [email protected].
National and local non-governmental organisations are encouraged to contact their national members in the Lanzarote Committee for further support and information.
Monitoring and engagement with the Committee
The monitoring of the Lanzarote Convention is divided by rounds, each round concerning a theme and all Parties are monitored at the same time. During both thematic and special monitoring rounds, the Lanzarote Committee seeks the views of civil society on the implementation of the Lanzarote Convention in the Parties to the Convention. Civil society actors, particularly national and local non-governmental organisations working in the field of prevention and protection of children from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation may submit replies to the monitoring questionnaires and – at the latest within two months from the publication of a given Party’s reply on the website of the Lanzarote Committee – also comment on Parties’ replies. The replies of non-governmental organisations shall be submitted to the Secretariat in accordance with deadlines and with a clear indication whether the information is public or confidential. Joint or coalition submissions of non-governmental organisations and the involvement of children in the drafting of the replies are strongly encouraged.
The Lanzarote Committee may request the non-governmental organisations to provide additional information or take part in a hearing in relation to the monitoring round concerned. The Lanzarote Committee may rely also on the information provided by national and local non-governmental organisations during visits it may have to undertake in one or several Parties.
Once the implementation report of the monitoring round is adopted by the Lanzarote Committee, the non-governmental organisations are encouraged to disseminate it as widely as possible, preferably, along with awareness-raising on the phenomenon of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and the Lanzarote Convention. They can also advocate their governments to implement the general and the relevant specific recommendations, then follow-up and monitor this procedure.
Any non-governmental organisation may draw the attention of the Lanzarote Committee to the fact that a Party seems not to implement general or specific recommendations of an implementation report and request follow-up on it by addressing such request to [email protected]
International non-governmental organisations holding observer status with the Committee
International non-governmental organisations working in the field of prevention and protection of children from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation may be admitted as observers to the Lanzarote Committee, whose members are the representatives of the Parties to the Convention. Observers participate in the work of the Lanzarote Committee just as the members, the only difference being that they may not vote (and the expenses for their participation in the meetings of the Committee are not borne by the Council of Europe). Accordingly, international non-governmental organisations with observer status can contribute to the preparation of reports, opinions, declarations and take part in any of the discussions of the Lanzarote Committee.
National and local non-governmental organisations holding membership in or cooperating with one of the international non-governmental organisations with observer status are encouraged to contact them and ask them to voice their views and recommendations where relevant to the work of the Committee.
International non-governmental organisations working in the field of prevention and protection of children from sexual abuse and sexual exploitation interested in gaining observer status with the Lanzarote Committee shall contact the Secretariat for further information ([email protected]).
International non-governmental organisations holding observer status with the Lanzarote Committee:
ECPAT is an expanding network of local civil society organisations and coalitions with one common goal – to end the sexual exploitation of children around the world. ECPAT conducts cutting-edge research to build the collective understanding of what it will take to end the sexual exploitation of children. Together with their members and partners, it coordinates evidence-based advocacy at all levels to strengthen national justice and protection systems and increase investment in the fight against sexual exploitation of children.
The European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online is a network consisting of 23 children’s rights NGOs from across the EU working for a safer online environment for children. Their mission is to promote and support actions at national, European and international level to protect children and promote their rights in relation to the Internet and new technologies.
The “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center is an international humanitarian and independent institution based in Nicosia, Cyprus. “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center works together with national, regional and international advocacy institutions to reform child welfare systems on behalf of children who depend on them for protection and care.
The INHOPE Foundation develops national hotlines across the world in the fight against child sexual abuse material online. They seek to expand the network of hotlines by prioritising countries where Child Sexual Abuse Material is being facilitated, produced or distributed.
The International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates (IAYFJM) is an NGO with consultative status at the Council of Europe and associated with ONU's Department of Public Information (DPI). It represents worldwide efforts to establish links between judges from different countries but also with other international associations working in the sector of the protection of youth and family. It promotes research on international problems facing the operation of the courts and various laws relating to youth and family.
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is a not-for-profit organisation supported by the global internet industry and the European Commission. The mission of the IWF is to minimise the availability of online sexual abuse content: the majority of its work focuses on the removal of child sexual abuse images and videos. The Internet Watch Foundation works internationally to make the internet a safer place and helps victims of child sexual abuse worldwide by identifying and removing online images and videos of their abuse. It also searches for child sexual abuse images and videos, offers a place for the public to report them anonymously and then have them removed.
Missing Children Europe represents a network of 30 NGOs in 26 countries in Europe. They provide the link between research, policies and organisations on the ground to protect children from any kind of violence, abuse or neglect that is caused by or results from them going missing.