The Lanzarote Convention requires Parties to encourage the participation of children, according to their evolving capacity, in the development and the implementation of state policies, programmes or other initiatives concerning the fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children in Article 9 (1). Children’s right to participate in the implementation of the Lanzarote Convention is also firmly rooted in the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022 – 2027) and the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on the participation of children and young people under the age of 18.
Accordingly, the Lanzarote Committee adopted Guidelines for Implementation of Child Participation and conducted a child consultation process during its 2nd monitoring round. As a result, 306 children from 10 Parties* participated in the consultations. The participants were selected among children aged between 11 and 18 years, encouraging the participation of children in vulnerable situations and from diverse backgrounds and ensuring gender balance. The contributions received from children were taken into account by the Lanzarote Committee in the preparation of its implementation report on “The protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse facilitated by information and communication technologies: Addressing the challenges raised by child self-generated sexual images and/or videos”. They are summarised in the first chapter of the report, are reflected throughout various other chapters, and some of the recommendations of the Lanzarote Committee to States Parties are based on their suggestions.
Children and young people were also involved in the preparation of awareness-raising tools such as “Tell someone you trust” and “So this is sexual abuse?”, explaining in a child-friendly manner children’s rights under the Lanzarote Convention.
* Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Republic of Moldova, Portugal, Serbia, and Ukraine.