SRSG Santos Pais calls for urgent action to end all forms of sexual violence against children, within and across borders

New York, 18 November 2016 - On the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, SRSG Santos Pais highlighted the central role of States, as well as families, teachers, law enforcement officials and other community members to raise awareness and mobilize action to end the sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

“The European Day is a momentous occasion to reaffirm our commitment to discuss and address the many risks children face and to feel reignited in our resolve to combat any form of sexual violence of children, by informing parents and empowering children to prevent and respond to these serious human rights violations, by supporting child victims to access safe and age sensitive institutions for redress, recovery and reintegration; and by enhancing the capacity of professionals and helping to fight impunity” said SRSG Santos Pais.

The European Day against Sexual Violence aims to encourage parents, educators and civil society partners, as well as decision-makers to bring to light incidents of sexual abuse and exploitation of children, and to take practical steps to solve it. According to the Council of Europe, one in five children across the European region are exposed to sexual violence; according to recent estimates, in 70 to 85% of cases of sexual abuse the perpetrator is a person known to the child, and in 90% of the cases, abuse is not reported to the police.

The European Day against Sexual Violence helps 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 of Europe’s Lanzarote Convention. SRSG Santos Pais commends the efforts of the Council of Europe, including through its ONE in FIVE Campaign, to achieve further ratification and implementation of this treaty.

“Protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation is critical to build a world where all children can grow up free from fear and from violence. This is a commitment enshrined in the Sustainable Development Agenda which the international community has pledged to achieve for all children by 2030. I look forward to continuing to collaborate closely with the Council of Europe to move steadily closer to this crucial goal.” added Ms. Santos Pais.

Council of Europe website on European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

SRSG Santos Pais video statement