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European Commission - Press release
European Parliament supports stronger legislation against child sexual abuse
Brussels, 27 October 2011 – The European Parliament today approved the European Commission's proposal for a Directive on combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
"The Commission made it clear one year ago that the EU will not tolerate children being used as objects to satisfy the sexual desire of criminals, or traded as commodities. I am extremely pleased that the European Parliament and the Council have lent their support to this proposal," said Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner responsible for Home Affairs. "With this directive we can make a difference. We are making it easier to prosecute and prevent crimes against children, and we are strengthening the protection of victims. I am confident that this new EU legislation will make a real difference in protecting children from these horrible crimes."
The Directive, including a number of amendments adopted in the Parliament today, closely reflects the Commission's proposal.
It notably includes provisions not only on the prosecution of offenders, but also on the prevention of offences and protection of child victims. It provides for the right of employers to ask for information on criminal records, and for awareness raising campaigns and the training of professionals as preventive measures. The directive also introduces the obligation for Member States to remove child pornography pages hosted on the Internet in their territory and to take action to have them removed if hosted abroad.
The EU Member States in the Council are now expected to formalise the political agreement and adopt the Directive shortly.
The terms ‘sexual exploitation’ and ‘sexual abuse of children’ refer to different forms of acts, such as sexual relations with a child under a certain age or under coercion, child prostitution or child pornography. These are particularly serious crimes against children, who need special protection and care, and ones that produce long-lasting and serious harm to child victims. Yet fighting these crimes is very difficult. Children are vulnerable, ashamed and often afraid to report what has happened to them.
In March 2010, the Commission tabled a proposal for a Directive (see IP/10/379 and MEMO/10/107) to substantially upgrade EU Legislation, namely Framework Decision (2004/68/JHA), which ensured a minimum approximation of national legislation but had considerable shortcomings. The proposal has been discussed with the Council and the European Parliament, and a political agreement was reached on a compromise text in June 2011.
The new Directive will make it easier to fight crimes against children by acting on different fronts:
Fore more information
Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs
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