European Parliament adopts resolution on child sexual abuse online

Date: 11th March 2015
Category: Children in situations of exploitation

In a resolution adopted on the 11th March 2015, the European Parliament strongly emphasised that protecting children and ensuring a safe environment for their development is one of the primary objectives of the EU and Member States.

Among a list of suggested guidelines and actions, the resolution on child sexual abuse online calls on the European Commission and the Member States to launch an awareness campaign, involving all relevant actors, to empower children and support parents and educators in understanding and handling online risks and protecting children's safety online, that would support Member States in setting up online sexual abuse prevention programmes.

In relation to the new resolution, Eurochild has highlighted that Members of the European Parliament are concerned that so far only less than half of the Member States have fully implemented the 2011 Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.

The resolution stresses the following:

the rights and protection of children online must be safeguarded, and that steps must be taken to ensure that any illicit content is promptly removed and reported to law enforcement authorities, and that there are sufficient legal instruments for investigating and prosecuting offenders;

children's personal data online must be duly protected and that children need to be informed in an easy and child-friendly way of the risks and consequences of using their personal data online; underlines the important changes the data protection reform will bring in order to further protect the rights of children online;

the need for a comprehensive and coordinated European approach in order to ensure consistency in policymaking and the resulting action, encompassing the fight against crime together with fundamental rights, privacy, data protection, cybersecurity, consumer protection and e-commerce.

Resolutions suggest a political desire to act in a given area. These instruments enable the European institutions to suggest guidelines for coordination of national legislations or administrative practices in a non-binding manner, i.e. without any legal obligations for the addressees - Member States and/or citizens.