Child sexual abuse is a real and growing danger. More and more often, abusers use the internet to communicate with each other, share materials, and reach out to children. Predators take photos and videos of the abuse they commit in real life and share them through the internet. They use web cams, mobile phones, social media or other online platforms to coerce or blackmail children into inappropriate and illegal sex acts.
For this reason, the European Commission is proposing a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse that aims to help EU countries to:
- detect and report child sexual abuse online
- prevent child sexual abuse
- support victims
According to the Commission, this legislation makes it mandatory for service providers to report child sexual abuse online on their platforms and to alert the authorities, so that predators can be brought to justice. Providers will also be required to report cases of grooming – a practice where sexual predators build a relationship, trust and emotional connection with children so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.
In line with this, Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) Network strongly supports the campaign led by Child Safety ON! (childsafetyineurope.com) on this EU regulation, and therefore has signed their letter urging Members of the European Parliament and Representatives of Member States in the Council to pass this regulation. We encourage you to join this campaign and reach out to your MEPs and national governments to support this regulation. Additional campaign materials can be found on the website of Child Safety ON.
As it is written in the letter: “If the Regulation does not complete its passage by 3rd August 2024, we know with a high degree of certainty what will happen. The continued use of child protection tools to detect child sexual abuse online in communication services will be banned across the EU. These are the very services most used by offenders to exchange child sexual abuse material and groom children. The reports generated in this way account for at least 80% of all reports of child sexual abuse received within the EU. In 2022 that amounted to 1.5 million individual reports. If the Regulation is not passed huge numbers of children will therefore be left exposed to or put in danger. This must not happen.”