The Congress is mobilising Europe’s regions to combat sexual violence against children
Strasbourg, 17 October 2012 - As part of the Congress’s contribution to the ONE in FIVE campaign to stop sexual violence against children, the Congress Chamber of Regions today approved a resolution and a recommendation which call on regional authorities and parliaments to implement the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse in the organisation of their welfare, social and health services, as well as by integrating its provisions into regional legislation where possible.
“Local and regional authorities have a key responsibility to protect and promote citizens’ human rights, that includes safeguarding and promoting the safety and welfare of children and young people” said Johan Van Den Hout, Netherlands (R, SOC), representing the former Congress’s Thematic Rapporteur on Children, Dusica Davidovic, Serbia (R, NR), when presenting the proposed measures. “Local and regional authorities are on the frontline of the fight to stop sexual violence against children and must develop and implement action plans and strategies to deal with it and to prevent future cases”.
In the report, the Rapporteur looked at which measures from the Lanzarote Convention can be implemented by regions, especially regions with legislative powers, such as the adoption of specific measures and structures to prevent and protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse. The Congress calls on regions to set up, in particular, child-friendly, multiagency and interdisciplinary centres where cases of child sexual exploitation and abuse can be investigated without adding to the victim’s grief, or to promote the aims of the Council of Europe’s ONE in FIVE Campaign by conducting awareness-raising campaigns addressed to the general public, parents, children and professionals working with and for children.
The Congress also recommends that the Committee of Ministers invite member states to support regional action and measures to prevent and deal with the sexual abuse of children as she firmly believes it is only when all tiers of government – national, regional and local – work together that the shared aim to stop sexual violence against children will be achieved.
To mobilise municipal and regional authorities for the Campaign, the Congress has also launched a Pact of Towns and Regions to Stop Sexual Violence against Children. The Pact comprises a list of initiatives and policies – from simple, cost effective actions to comprehensive strategies - to be implemented. For its Pact, the Congress has adopted the four pronged approach of Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Participation - the four “Ps”: to prevent abuse, protect victims, prosecute perpetrators while ensuring full participation for children.
The Congress has two chambers, the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions.
It brings together 318 full and 318 substitute members representing more than 200 000 European territorial communities.
President of the Congress: Herwig Van Staa (Austria, EPP/DC), President of the Chamber of Regions: Nataliya Romanova (Ukraine, IDLG), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities: Jean-Claude Frécon (France, SOC)
Political Groups: Socialist Group (SOC), Group of the European People’s Party – Christian Democrats (EPP/CD), Independent and Liberal Democrat Group (ILDG), European Conservatives & Reformists Group (ECR)