18 November: 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, among many other actions, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers set up in 2015 the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, as a follow-up to its ONE in FIVE Campaign to stop sexual violence against children.
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 and survivors of childhood sexual violence to inspire policy change”.
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Council of Europe partners 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.
From its side, the Council of Europe promotes different national actions and initiatives taken by partners on its dedicated website and through its social media. It also provides numerous awareness-raising and communication tools and resources which can be used freely.
Our awareness-raising and communication tools and resources
Since 2015, the Council of Europe has developed many different awareness-raising and communication tools and resources: