Updated: 6 February 2012
Combating child sexual exploitation
at local and regional levels
Congress contribution to the
Council of Europe ONE in FIVE Campaign
to stop sexual violence against children
9 February 2012, Palais de l’Europe, room 5
Available data suggest that about one child in five in Europe is a victim of some form of sexual violence, one of the worst forms of violence against children. Sexual violence can take many forms among which: incest, pornography, prostitution, trafficking in human beings, corruption, solicitation via Internet, sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. All of these can and do cause serious damage to children’s mental and physical health. The consequences of sexual abuse follow children into their adult lives – lives which first person accounts often describe as lived out in hidden sorrow and pain.
Although public attention is most often drawn towards the lurking stranger depicted in media, children are most at risk of abuse from those around them, indeed it is estimated that in 70% to 85% of cases, the abuser is somebody the child knows and trusts such as family members and friends, care-givers, even peers.
Protecting children from violence has been a top priority at the Council of Europe for many years and on 29 November 2010, the Council of Europe launched a pan European campaign in Rome to address the issue of sexual violence. This Campaign, entitled One in Five to reflect the extent of the problem, has two main goals:
- to achieve further signature, ratification and implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse;
- to equip children, their families/carers and societies at large with the knowledge and tools to prevent and report sexual violence against children, thereby raising awareness of its extent.
Aims and objectives
Thanks to their proximity to citizens, local and regional authorities have an important role to play in achieving the aims of the One in Five Campaign.
The Congress first addressed the issue of tackling violence against children in 2009 and made a number of recommendations to local and regional authorities. At that time, the Congress recognised that the main challenge to local and regional authorities is to develop and implement community-based action plans and strategies, and to invest in better services that respect children’s rights in order to deliver locally what children and families need, to stop sexual violence and to bring perpetrators to justice. Awareness-raising and political will at this level are extremely important.
The aims of this seminar are, therefore, to provide information on the issue of sexual violence against children; to examine actions local and regional authorities may undertake to prevent and deal with cases; and to present structures which may be set up to provide concrete solutions which will help families, carers and children in preventing sexual violence and avoiding secondary victimisation of children.
The specific objectives of the seminar are to:
- present the Council of Europe One in Five Campaign and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities’ Strategic Action Plan;
- provide information on the issue of sexual violence against children;
- raise awareness on the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse and the solutions and opportunities it provides to local and regional authorities;
- put forward different models for dealing with cases of sexual violence against children at local and regional levels;
- explore the different tools available for achieving the Congress’ Strategic Action Plan’s aims;
- learn about the network of contact parliamentarians with a view to exploring the possibility of setting up a network of contacts at local and regional levels.
The working languages for the seminar will be English, French, German, Italian and Russian.
08.30 - 08.55 Registration of the participants (room 5)
09.00 - 09.15 Opening session
Emin YERITSYAN, Chair of the Current Affairs Committee
§ Maud de BOER-BUQUICCHIO, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe
§ Keith WHITMORE, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
09.15 - 10.25 How to stop sexual violence against children
Moderator: Tatiana BILANKOV, journalist TV Belgrade, Radiotelevision of Serbia
Introduction: the crisis situation of violence against children
§ Anica DJAMIĆ, Committee of Ministers’ Thematic Co-ordinator for Children, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Croatia to the Council of Europe (TBC)
How is the Council of Europe contributing to this fight?
§ Regina JENSDOTTIR, Head of the Children’s Rights Division and Co-ordinator of the Building a Europe for and with Children Programme
What international legal instruments exist to address sexual violence against children?
§ Ksenija TURKOVIC, Vice president to the PC-ES (Committee of Experts on the Protection of Children against sexual exploitation and abuse) (Croatia)
How can we fight sexual violence against children at the grassroots?
§ Dusica DAVIDOVIC, Congress Thematic Rapporteur on Children
10.25 - 10.45 Coffee break
10.45 - 12.30 How can we put the child’s best interest first when developing mechanisms at the grassroots level to tackle sexual abuse?
Introduction: what is the key to uncovering child sexual abuse?
Bragi GUÐBRANDSSON, General Director, The Government Agency for Child Protection (Iceland)
Creating a child friendly environment where the victim feels secure and comfortable
§ Gordana BULJAN FLANDER, Director of the Zagreb Centre for Child Protection (Croatia)
An integrated approach to preventing and dealing with sexual violence against children
§ Nick McPartlan, Service Manager, ENGAGE, Blackburn with Darwin Borough Council (United Kingdom)
§ DS Mark WHELAN, Lancashire Constabulary (United Kingdom)
Discussion on the morning’s presentations
12.30 – 14.30 Lunch
14.30 – 16.05 Mobilising local and regional authorities to implement the Congress’ Strategic Action Plan
Networking to coordinate actions and exchange best practises
§ Marlene RUPPRECHT, member of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly
The regions rally to raise children’s awareness of the dangers
§ Karin Gölly, Lawyer, Violence Prevention Centre, Burgenland, Member of the Burgenland “Together Against Violence” Network (Austria)
Working together on preventive measures and assistance to victims
§ Noemy KOSTIC, Psychologist, Action innocence (Monaco)
16.05 - 16.25 Coffee break
16.25 - 18.00 Halting sexual violence and abuse: tools and partners
Moderator: Tatiana BILANKOV, journalist TV Belgrade, Radiotelevision of Serbia
Setting up independent institutions to protect and promote children’s rights
§ Roswitha WENZL, Commissioner for Children’s Affairs, City of Stuttgart (Germany)
Virtual community policing using child and youth friendly social media
§ Sergeant Marko FORSS, Helsinki Police Department (Finland)
Theatre as education: building victims’ self-confidence with the Arts
§ Günther EBENSCHWEIGER, President, Österreichischen Zentrum für Kriminalprävention (Austria)
Close of the seminar by Emin YERITSYAN, Chair of the Congress Current Affairs Committee
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe:
- The local and regional dimensions of the Council of Europe ONE in FIVE Campaign to stop sexual violence against children, a Strategic Action Plan for the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe;
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe:
- Combating “child abuse images” through committed, transversal and internationally co-ordinated action;
For further information about the seminar, please contact:
Co-Secretary to the Current Affairs Committee
Tel: +33 3 88 41 31 61
Fax: +33 3 90 21 56 59