European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children can happen at home, in school, during extra curricula activities, on the streets, over the phone, through a webcam or online in general. In most cases (70 to 85%) it is inflicted by someone the child knows, in their circle of trust, and causes lifelong damage to the child’s physical and mental health. In 90% of the cases, the sexual violence acts are not reported to the police.

To prevent these crimes, prosecute the perpetrators and protect the victims, society as a whole needs to make sure it does not shy away from this scourge, but brings it to light, discusses ways and takes practical steps to address the situation. In this context, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted a pioneering Convention on the protection of chidren against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Lanzarote Convention), and launched the ONE in FIVE Campaign to stop sexual violence against children. In 2015, to follow up on the important work and impact resulting from this Campaign that was completed, it decided to go one step further by setting up the first European Day for the Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. Celebrated each year on or around 18 November, its objectives are to:

  • raise public awareness on sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, and the need to prevent such acts;
  • facilitate open discussion on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and help prevent and eliminate the stigmatisation of victims;
  • promote the ratification and implementation of the Lanzarote Convention - a unique legally binding instrument that obliges Parties to criminalise all forms of sexual violence against children and spells out the ways to fight it.

Council of Europe member States and civil society have ownership for marking and organising the European Day for children and for everyone who interacts with them in their personal or professional capacity (parents, teachers, law enforcement agents, sport coaches, non-governmental organisations, etc.). They can hold national actions and decide themselves on the initiatives they wish to take, particularly through the use of social media and already existing networks. Any action is possible, such as lectures at schools, discussions, screening of films on the topic of sexual violence against children, public statements and media events.

Each year, the Council of Europe suggests a theme to its partners for the actions to be carried out. It promotes the different national actions and initiatives taken by them on its website. It also provides awareness-raising material which can be used freely.

Please contact us for your national action and/or initiative to be promoted on our website and through our social media.

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