Special Representative Santos Pais welcomes the European Day against Sexual Violence

New York, 18 November 2015- Marking the first European Day against Sexual Violence on 18 November, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children welcomed this important initiative by the Council of Europe. The European Day against Sexual Violence will help to raise public awareness of children's protection from sexual abuse and exploitation, while strengthening prevention initiatives and promoting the ratification and implementation of the Council's Lanzarote Convention. Special Representative Santos Pais commends the efforts of the Council of Europe, including through the ONE in FIVE Campaign which aims to achieve further ratification and implementation of the treaty.

The European Day against Sexual Violence aims to encourage parents, educators, NGOs and decision-makers not to shy away from the issue of child sexual abuse and exploitation and to bring it to light and discuss ways and take practical steps to solve it. According to the Council of Europe, recent estimates report that in 70 - 85% of cases of sexual abuse the perpetrator is a person known to the child, and in 90% of cases, abuse is not reported to the police.

Special Representative Santos Pais and the Council of Europe are united in a strong commitment to prevent and address all incidents of sexual violence against children, and to build a world where all children can grow up free from violence.

One crucial step in this direction is to inform and empower children in an accessible age sensitive manner. With this in mind, the Special Representative reaffirms its strong commitment to continue to develop child friendly materials on children's protection from all forms of violence, including from sexual abuse and exploitation, building upon the significant initiatives developed with children on the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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