Ahead of the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (18 November), Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić has called on Council of Europe member states to step up their engagement with victims and survivors of childhood sexual violence to help lift taboos surrounding reporting of sexual violence to better protect children.
The European Day was launched by the Council of Europe in 2015. In 2022, as part of a global awareness-raising and advocacy effort, the United Nations also established the 18th of November as the World Day for the prevention of and healing from child sexual exploitation, abuse, and violence.
“It is crucial to join forces globally to ensure children’s protection against sexual violence worldwide. I am proud that our day has become universal and glad to announce that our Organisation has joined the WeProtect Global Alliance, a coalition of governments, civil society organisations, companies and international organisations committed to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse,” highlighted Marija Pejčinović Burić.
The Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as the Lanzarote Convention, is widely recognised as the gold standard worldwide to combat these heinous crimes.
“Child sexual exploitation or sexual abuse is never the fault of the child, but in most cases the feeling of shame and stigma prevent children from disclosing their trauma before adulthood. This leaves them unprotected and perpetrators unpunished. Breaking the vicious circle of silence, encouraging survivors to speak up and learning from them is of vital importance because they can bring important insights to policy making,” concluded Marija Pejčinović Burić.