Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe

PACE Meeting on Sexual Violence against Children in the Digital environment




Brussels, 7 December 2016

On Thursday, 1st of December, the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe held a meeting in Florence in the context of the Network of Contact Parliamentarians to Stop Sexual Violence against Children and the One in Five Campaign. This was the last meeting of the Network and was focused on “sexual violence against children in the digital environment and other challenges”. On behalf of FAFCE, the event was attended by Mr Gianni Fini, President of "Foro toscano delle famiglie", regional association of Forum delle Associazioni Familiari, the biggest Italian member of FAFCE.

During the event, it was stressed that the online environment provides good opportunities but also great risks for children, who can be exposed to harmful contents, such as pornography and gratuitous violence, or get in contact with offenders exploring children’s vulnerability, thus making them victims of sexual violence and exploitation.

Countries should then promote actions that involve parents, schools and institutions to alert children for the risks of internet and teach them how to use it properly. There should also be international cooperation on sharing good practices in this regard. At the end of the event, deputies signed the Florence Declaration, where they commit to take actions to protect children from sexual exploitation online.

Recalling the importance of the role of parents and families, FAFCE brings the voice of a large number of local associations which work on the ground with schools and children. Fo example, "Foro toscano delle famiglie" met in the past three years 500 preteens, their parents and teachers in 24 classes in 12 schools, in an educational experience based on the interactive mode of peer-education, very effective in the logic of prevention of abuse and violence against children, potentially inflicted or suffered. FAFCE is following very closely this topic, both at the Council of Europe, where it holds a participatory status, and at the EU institutions, where the Audiovisual Media Services is currently being reviewed

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