18 November: European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse - 2023 Edition
Learning from victims/survivors of childhood sexual violence to inspire policy change
Each year, the Council of Europe invites its partners to focus on a specific topic on the occasion of the European Day.
The 2023 edition of the European Day focuses on “Learning from victims/survivors of childhood sexual violence to inspire policy change”.
This will be an opportunity to highlight the importance of engaging with victims/survivors at national and local level, to learn from them and their traumatic experiences, to understand what could have been done better to react, report and to support them.
The Council of Europe partners with a wide audience to mark 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.
Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse affects children everywhere. The majority of abuse happens in the child’s circle of trust. In many cases it is never reported to the police. According to victims/survivors, common barriers to disclosure or reporting abuse are feelings of shame and stigma. As a result, they are unable to access help or support to heal from this trauma. This also means that perpetrators go unpunished which can lead to further abuse of the same or other children.
Giving victims/survivors a voice can inspire change. This year is an opportunity to raise awareness at all levels of society in order to prevent and eliminate stigmatisation. It is crucial to learn from victims'/survivors’ experiences to improve legislation, policy and services to better prevent these crimes and protect child victims/survivors.
We want to learn more about the ways victims/survivors are already bringing about change whether at local, national or regional level. In this context we are conducting research to learn more about the various ways victims/survivors are inspiring change.
Please share your examples of survivor movements, councils, advisory bodies, etc. engagement in policy making by completing an online form by 20 September 2023.
Since 2015, the Council of Europe has developed many different awareness-raising and communication tools and resources:
ACTIVITIES FOR THE EUROPEAN DAY
In Council of Europe member states
Joint statement issued by six Council of Europe member States (Andorra, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino and Slovenia) and supported by 37 other Council of Europe member States as well as by the European Union
Mouv’Enfants and survivors and victims living in the Bas-Rhin
A stakeholder debate on combatting sexual violence against children was organised collectively by the association Mouv’Enfants and survivors and victims living in the Bas-Rhin on 20 October. The event was hosted by the Council of Europe and brought together local specialists, including lawyers, social workers, police officers, early childhood and child protection professionals, victims and survivors, and the City of Strasbourg.
Council of Europe
Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
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.
Tiny Cox, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
In a statement issued on the occasion of the European Day, Mr Tiny Cox, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, called on policy makers everywhere to listen to, and learn from, the victims and survivors of childhood sexual violence when developing laws and policies to combat this terrible crime.