First European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse
Ljubljana, 18 November 2015 – Today marks the first European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. The decision to designate this day was adopted by the Council of Europe at Slovenia's initiative in May this year. Sexual violence and sexual abuse of children, who are an especially vulnerable group, is a grave violation of children's rights and has long-term negative effects on their lives. Every fifth child (every fourth girl and every sixth boy) falls victim to sexual abuse, whereby the perpetrators are mostly persons whom these children trust. As much as 90 per cent of such cases are not reported to the Police, which speaks volumes. Slovenia submitted its initiative at the proposal of the Association against Sexual Abuse in 2011, and has already marked this day by organising a special event, a conference held at the National Assembly last week. The event confirmed the need to mark such occasions, as child abuse is still not openly discussed, and cases of suspected abuse are not always followed up. The new European Day is aimed at raising public awareness of the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse of children and of the need to prevent such crimes. It also aims to facilitate a public debate on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and abuse and to end stigmatization of victims. This day is also an opportunity to promote the ratification and implementation of the Lanzarote Convention binding the Parties to criminalise all kinds of sexual offences against children, and defining the methods of action against them. Slovenia has been a Party to the Convention since 1 January 2014. This is also an occasion to recall that 20 November is Universal Children's Day. On this day in 1959, the UN adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 34 of the Convention provides the basis for the protection of children from all forms of sexual exploitation or abuse.