Commission reports on Member States' measures to combat child sexual abuse online
- European Commission
On 16 December 2016, the European Commission adopted two reports on the measures taken by Member States to combat the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children produce long-term physical, psychological and social harm to vulnerable victims who have the need and the right to special protection and care.
Online child sexual abuse is a nefarious crime with long-term consequences for its victims: harm is caused not only when abuse is actually recorded or photographed, but also every time the images and videos are posted, circulated and viewed. For the victims, the knowledge that the images and videos in which they are abused are ‘out there', accessible to anyone, is a major source of trauma and additional suffering.
A major step to fight these crimes was the adoption in 2011 of Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, a comprehensive legal framework which covers investigation and prosecution of crimes, assistance to and protection of victims, and prevention.
The reports present a first overview of measures taken by Member States to transpose the Directive into national law. The reports show that, although the Directive has led to substantial progress, there is still considerable room for improvement, in particular with regard to prevention and intervention programmes for offenders, the assistance, support and protection measures for child victims and the provision of adequate safeguards when the optional blocking measures are applied.
The European Commission will continue working to support Member States in their implementation of effective measures against these crimes, to ensure that children benefit from the full added value of the Directive. These reports constitute a first step, which will be followed by the assessment of conformity of national measures with the Directive. Where necessary, the Commission will take appropriate action and make use of its enforcement powers under the Treaties.
More information can be found on the European Commission website.
Hotlines face a range of unique challenges in their work handling reports of web-based child sexual abuse material (CSAM). To assist them, INHOPE, the International Association of Internet Hotlines, provides core training to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job properly and safely.
In the fight against online child sexual abuse, "jokainen vihje on tärkeä", every report counts, as they say in Finnish. Nettivihje has been in operation since 2002 and offers the public a way to report potential illegal online content, especially concerning child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Reports can be made anonymously.
On Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 November 2015, a year on from UK Prime Minister David Cameron's undertaking to ensure all governments work hand in hand to combat online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) through the WePROTECT initiative, representatives from 51 governments, law enforcement, the non-profit sector and industry convened in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
INHOPE is the International Association of Internet Hotlines. It is an active and collaborative network of 51 hotlines in 45 countries worldwide, dealing with illegal content online and committed to stamping out child sexual abuse from the internet.