SEMINAR FOR NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS OF LOCAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORITIES ON THE ONE in FIVE CAMPAIGN AND THE PACT OF TOWNS AND REGIONS TO STOP SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN
30 June 2015, 's Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
The challenge to Europe’s towns and regions when dealing with sexual violence against children is to raise awareness of the issue, to develop and implement community-based action plans to address the issues of prevention, protection, prosecution, and participation. While doing this, all services and actions must be respectful of children’s rights, put the child’s best interest first, and enable children’s voices to be heard.
The Congress has been an active participant in the Council of Europe ONE in FIVE campaign to combat sexual violence against children. In 2012 it launched the Pact of Towns and Regions to stop sexual violence against children, inviting cities and local authorities to sign the Pact and develop their child welfare related services.
The seminar held today in 's Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands in which representatives of national associations of local authorities, cities and regions have participated, is the last of a series of activities through which the Congress has developed its arsenal to fight the sexual abuse of children.
The Council of Europe campaign is ending this year, but the action will continue through the newly established European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse which is to be celebrated every year on 18November.
The participants of this seminar propose to follow up on the work already done, by:
- inviting the signatory cities of the Pact to organise a meeting every two years in one of the signatory cities to review progress on this issue, to exchange information and good practices and to increase the visibility of the Pact to encourage further signatures;
- calling on all national associations of local and regional authorities to encourage the local authorities in their countries to create webpages on their municipal websites for children's welfare including a check list of services provided for children and families that will facilitate their access to information;
- inviting the local authorities to sign up to the Pact and to keep on promoting activities which increase the visibility of the Pact and the Lanzarote Convention and to disseminate the Congress toolkit which now exists in 37 languages;
- inviting the local authorities to organise events on the occasion of the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual exploitation and Sexual abuse;
- requesting the Congress to accompany prospective hosting cities for the proposed meeting of the signatories by putting its Pact website at their disposal for information exchange.