Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

PROVISION

Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

General Principles

Avoiding repeat or secondary victimisation of victims​​

Article 30.​​ 2 Each Party shall adopt a protective approach towards victims, ensuring that the investigations and criminal proceedings do not aggravate the trauma experienced by the child and that the criminal justice response is followed by assistance, where appropriate…

Article 31. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and criminal proceedings, in particular by: .. b.ensuring, at least in cases where the victims and their families might be in danger, that they may be informed, if necessary, when the person prosecuted or convicted is released temporarily or definitively; … f. providing for their safety, as well as that of their families and witnesses on their behalf, from intimidation, retaliation and repeat victimisation; g. ensuring that contact between victims and perpetrators within court and law enforcement agency premises is avoided, unless the competent authorities establish otherwise in the best interests of the child or when the investigations or proceedings require such contact.

Ensuring the best interests is a primary consideration in the application of the obligations in the Directives

Considering that every child has the right to such measures of protection as are required by his or her status as a minor, on the part of his or her family, society and the State;

..​​ Considering that the well-being and best interests of children are fundamental values shared by all member States and must be promoted without any discrimination;

Article 30 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that investigations and criminal proceedings are carried out in the best interests and respecting the rights of the child.

Article 31. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and criminal proceedings, in particular by: .. g. ensuring that contact between victims and perpetrators within court and law enforcement agency premises is avoided, unless the competent authorities establish otherwise in the best interests of the child or when the investigations or proceedings require such contact.

Non-discrimination

Article 2 The implementation of the provisions of this Convention by the Parties, in particular the enjoyment of measures to protect the rights of victims, shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth, sexual orientation, state of health, disability or other status.

Taking due account of the views of the child

Article 14. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to assist victims, in the short and long term, in their physical and psycho-social recovery. Measures taken pursuant to this paragraph shall take due account of the child’s views, needs and concerns.

Article 31. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and criminal proceedings, in particular by: … c enabling them, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of internal law, to be heard, to supply evidence and to choose the means of having their views, needs and concerns presented, directly or through an intermediary, and considered;

Target group

Provisions concerning​​ identifying victims, including specific provisions identifying children as a victim of crime, such as age assessment provisions

Article 3 a. “child” shall mean any person under the age of 18 years; b.​​ “sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children” shall include the behaviour as referred to in Articles 18 to 23 of this Convention; c “victim” shall mean any child subject to sexual exploitation or sexual abuse.

Article 11. 2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that when the age of the victim is uncertain and there are reasons to believe that the victim is a child, the protection and assistance measures provided for children shall be accorded to him or her pending verification of his or her age.

Article 14.​​ 4 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the persons who are close to the victim may benefit, where appropriate, from therapeutic assistance, notably emergency psychological care.

Article 34.2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that uncertainty as to the actual age of the victim shall not prevent the initiation of criminal investigations.

Article 35. 3 When the age of the victim is uncertain and there are reasons to believe that the victim is a child, the measures established in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be applied pending verification of his or her age.

Assistance & Support

Provision of information

Article 31. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and criminal proceedings, in particular by: a informing them of their rights and the services at their disposal and, unless they do not wish to receive such information, the follow-up given to their complaint, the charges, the general progress of the investigation or proceedings, and their role therein as well as the outcome of their cases;

Article 31. 2 Each Party shall ensure that victims have access, as from their first contact with the competent authorities, to information on relevant judicial and administrative proceedings.

Article 31. 6 Each Party shall ensure that the information given to victims in conformity with the provisions of this article is provided in a manner adapted to their age and maturity and in a language that they can understand.

Right to interpretation & translation

None

Provision of assistance & support

Article 11.​​ 1. Each Party shall establish effective social programmes and set up multidisciplinary structures to provide the necessary support for victims, their close relatives and for any person who is responsible for their care.

Article 14. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to assist victims, in the short and long term, in their physical and psycho-social recovery. Measures taken pursuant to this paragraph shall take due account of the child’s views, needs and concerns.

2 Each Party shall take measures, under the conditions provided for by its internal law, to co-operate with non-governmental organisations, other relevant organisations or other elements of civil society engaged in assistance to victims.

3 When the parents or persons who have care of the child are involved in his or her sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, the intervention procedures taken in application of Article 11, paragraph 1, shall include:

​​ – the possibility of removing the alleged perpetrator;

​​ – the possibility of removing the victim from his or her family environment. The conditions and duration of such removal shall be determined in accordance with the best interests of the child.

4 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to​​ ensure that the persons who are close to the victim may benefit, where appropriate, from therapeutic assistance, notably emergency psychological care.

Article 31. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and criminal proceedings, in particular by:…. d providing them with appropriate support services so that their rights and interests are duly presented and taken into account;

Article 31. 5 5 Each Party shall provide, by means of legislative or other measures, in accordance with the conditions provided for by its internal law, the possibility for groups, foundations, associations or governmental or non-governmental organisations, to assist and/or support the victims with their consent during criminal proceedings concerning the offences established in accordance with this Convention.

Individual assessment of each child’s circumstances and non-offending family members’ needs​​ 

None

Circle of Trust provisions

Article 14.3 When the parents or persons who have care of the child are involved in his or her sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, the intervention procedures taken in application of Article 11, paragraph 1, shall include:

​​ – the possibility of removing the alleged perpetrator;

​​ – the possibility of removing the victim from his or her family environment. The conditions and duration of such removal shall be determined in accordance with the best interests of the child.

Representation where appropriate for children deprived of parental care or where their interests conflict with those of their parents​​ 

Article 31.4 Each Party shall provide for the possibility for the judicial authorities to appoint a special representative for the victim when, by internal law, he or she may have the status of a party to the criminal proceedings and where the holders of parental responsibility are precluded from representing the child in such proceedings as a result of a conflict of interest between them and the victim.

Legal counselling and representation

Article 31. 3 Each Party shall ensure that victims have access, provided free of charge where warranted, to legal aid when it is possible for them to have the status of parties to criminal proceedings.

Reporting/investigation/court proceeding

Reporting​​ 

Article 25.6 For the prosecution of the offences established in accordance with Articles 18, 19, 20, paragraph 1.a, and 21 of this Convention, each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that its jurisdiction as regards paragraphs 1.d and e is not subordinated to the condition that the prosecution can only be initiated following a report from the victim or a denunciation from the State of the place where the offence was committed.

Article 32. Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that investigations or prosecution of offences established in accordance with this Convention shall not be dependent upon the report or accusation made by a victim, and that the proceedings may continue even if the victim has withdrawn his or her statements.

Article 12. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the confidentiality rules imposed by internal law on certain professionals called upon to work in contact with children do not constitute an obstacle to the possibility, for those professionals, of their reporting to the services responsible for child protection any situation where they have reasonable grounds for believing that a child is the victim of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse.

2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to encourage any person who knows about or suspects, in good faith, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse of children to report these facts to the competent services.

​​ Article 13; Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to encourage and support the setting up of information services, such as telephone or Internet helplines, to provide advice to callers, even confidentially or with due regard for their anonymity.

Adapted procedures in investigations and judicial proceedings involving children​​

Article 30 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that investigations and criminal proceedings are carried out in the best interests and respecting the rights of the child.

2 Each Party shall adopt a protective approach towards victims, ensuring that the investigations and criminal proceedings do not aggravate the trauma experienced by the child and that the criminal justice response is followed by assistance, where appropriate.

3 Each Party shall ensure that the investigations and criminal proceedings are treated as priority and carried out without any unjustified delay.

4 Each Party shall ensure that the measures applicable under the current chapter are not prejudicial to the rights of the defence and the requirements of a fair and impartial trial, in conformity with Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms….

Article 31. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and criminal proceedings, in particular by: [see a – g elsewhere in the table]

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: No unjustified delay between the reporting of the facts and interviews take place

Article 30.33 Each Party shall ensure that the investigations and criminal proceedings are treated as priority and carried out without any unjustified delay.

Article 35. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that:

a interviews with the child take place without unjustified delay after the facts have been reported to the competent authorities;

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: Medical examinations​​

None

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: Interviews take place, where necessary in premises designed or adapted for this purpose

Article 35. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that:

b interviews with the child take place, where necessary, in premises designed or adapted for this purpose;

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION; Interviews are carried out by or through professionals trained for this purpose

Article 35. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that:

c interviews with the child are carried out by professionals trained for this purpose;

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: The same persons, if possible and were appropriate, conduct all interviews with children

Article 35. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that:

d the same persons, if possible and where appropriate, conduct all interviews with the child;

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: Interviews of victims of sexual violence, gender-based violence or violence in close relationships being carried out​​ by persons of the same sex

None

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: The number of interviews is as limited as possible and interviews are carried out only where strictly necessary and for the purpose of the investigations and proceedings

Article 35. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that:

e the number of interviews is as limited as possible and in so far as strictly necessary for the purpose of criminal proceedings;

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION: Accompaniment by legal representative or where appropriate by an adult of his or her choice unless a reasoned decision has been made to the contrary in respect of that person.​​ 

Article 35. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that:

If the child may be accompanied by his or her legal representative or, where appropriate, an adult of his or her choice, unless a reasoned decision has been made to the contrary in respect of that person.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION/COURT PROCEEDING All interviews with a child victim )or where appropriate a child witness, may be audio-visually recorded and that such recordings may be used as evidence in criminal court proceedings

Article 35.​​ 2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that all interviews with the victim or, where appropriate, those with a child witness, may be videotaped and that these videotaped interviews may be accepted as evidence during the court proceedings, according to the rules provided by its internal law.

COURT PROCEEDING: Possibility to order that the hearing take place without the presence of the public

Article 36. 2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure, according to the rules provided by its internal law, that: a the judge may order the hearing to take place without the presence of the public;

COURT PROCEEDING: Possibility to order that the child victim be heard through the use of appropriate communication technologies

Article 36. 2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure, according to the rules provided by its internal law, that.. b the victim may be heard in the courtroom without being present, notably through the use of appropriate communication technologies.

CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS/GENERAL

Necessary measures to protect the privacy, identity and image of child victims and to prevent the public dissemination of any information that could lead to their identification.

Article 31. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and criminal proceedings, in particular by: .. e protecting their privacy, their identity and their image and by taking measures in accordance with internal law to prevent the public dissemination of any information that could lead to their identification;

CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS/GENERAL

Right to avoid contact between victim and offender

Article 31.1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to protect the rights and interests of victims, including their special needs as witnesses, at all stages of investigations and criminal proceedings, in particular by g. ensuring that contact between victims and perpetrators within court and law enforcement agency premises is avoided, unless the competent authorities establish otherwise in the best interests of the child or when the investigations or proceedings require such contact.

Necessary measures to find durable solutions for unaccompanied children who have been trafficked

n/a

Training & tools

Article 5.1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures​​ to encourage awareness of the protection and rights of children among persons who have regular contacts with children in the education, health, social protection, judicial and law-enforcement sectors and in areas relating to sport, culture and leisure activities.

2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the persons referred to in paragraph 1 have an adequate knowledge of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, of the means to identify them and of the possibility mentioned in Article 12, paragraph 1.

3 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures, in conformity with its internal law, to ensure that the conditions to accede to those professions whose exercise implies regular contacts with children ensure that the candidates to these professions have not been convicted of acts of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse of children.

Article 34.​​ 1 Each Party shall adopt such measures as may be necessary to ensure that persons, units or services in charge of investigations are specialised in the field of combating sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children or that persons are trained for this purpose. Such units or services shall have adequate financial resources.

Article 35. 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that:

.. c interviews with the child are carried out by professionals trained for this purpose;

Article 36.​​ 1 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures, with due respect for the rules governing the autonomy of legal professions, to ensure that training on children’s rights and sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children is available for the benefit of all persons involved in the proceedings, in particular judges, prosecutors and lawyers.

Multi-disciplinarity/coordination/cooperation

Article 10: 1 Each Party shall take the necessary measures to ensure the co-ordination on a national or local level between the different agencies in charge of the protection from, the prevention of and the fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, notably the education sector, the health sector, the social services and the law-enforcement and judicial authorities.

2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to set up or designate: a. independent competent national or local institutions for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, ensuring that they are provided with specific resources and responsibilities;….

3 Each Party shall encourage co-operation between the competent state authorities, civil society and the private sector, in order to better prevent and combat sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.

Article 11.1 Each Party shall establish effective social programmes and set up multidisciplinary structures to provide the necessary support for victims, their close relatives and for any person who is responsible for their care.

Article 13. Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to encourage and support the setting up of information services, such as telephone or Internet helplines, to provide advice to callers, even confidentially or with due regard for their anonymity.

Article 14.2 Each Party shall take measures, under the conditions provided for by its internal law, to co-operate with non-governmental organisations, other relevant organisations or other elements of civil society engaged in assistance to victims.

International cooperation

15.2 Each Party shall ensure or promote, in accordance with its internal law, the development of partnerships or other forms of cooperation between the competent authorities, in particular health-care services and the social services, and the judicial authorities and other bodies responsible for​​ following the persons referred to in Article 16, paragraphs 1 and 2.

Article 38. 1 The Parties shall co-operate with each other, in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, and through the application of relevant applicable international and regional instruments, arrangements agreed on the basis of uniform or reciprocal legislation and internal laws, to the widest extent possible, for the purpose of:

a preventing and combating sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children;

b protecting and providing assistance to victims;

c investigations or proceedings concerning the offences established in accordance with this Convention.

2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims of an offence established in accordance with this Convention in the territory of a Party other than the one where they reside may make a complaint before the competent authorities of their State of residence.

3 If a Party that makes mutual legal assistance in criminal matters or extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty receives a request for legal assistance or extradition from a Party with which it has not concluded such a treaty, it may consider this Convention the legal basis for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters or extradition in respect of the offences established in accordance with this Convention.

4 Each Party shall endeavour to integrate, where appropriate, prevention and the fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children in assistance programmes for development provided for the benefit of third states.

Data & Monitoring

Article 10.2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to set up or designate: .. b mechanisms for data collection or focal points, at the national or local levels and in collaboration with civil society, for the purpose of observing and evaluating the phenomenon of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, with due respect for the requirements of personal data protection

See also Chapter X – Monitoring mechanism: at CoE level

Awareness Raising

Article 5 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to encourage awareness of the protection and rights of children among persons who have regular contacts with children in the education, health, social protection, judicial and law-enforcement sectors and in areas relating to sport, culture and leisure activities.

2. Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that the persons referred to in paragraph 1 have an adequate knowledge of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, of the means to identify them and of the possibility mentioned in Article 12, paragraph 1.

Article 6 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that children, during primary and secondary education, receive information on the risks of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, as well as on the means to protect themselves, adapted to their evolving capacity. This information, provided in collaboration with parents, where appropriate, shall be given within a more general context of information on sexuality and shall pay special attention to situations of risk, especially those involving the use of new information and communication technologies.

Article 8 1 Each Party shall promote or conduct awareness raising campaigns addressed to the general public providing information on the phenomenon of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children and on the preventive measures which can be taken.

2 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to prevent or prohibit the dissemination of materials advertising the offences​​ established in accordance with this Convention.

Article 9 (here or other) Each Party shall encourage the participation of children, according to their evolving capacity, in the development and the implementation of state policies, programmes or others initiatives concerning the fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.

2. Each Party shall encourage the private sector, in particular the information and communication technology sector, the tourism and travel industry and the banking and finance sectors, as well as civil society, to participate in the elaboration and implementation of policies to prevent sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children and to implement internal norms through self-regulation or co-regulation.

3. Each Party shall encourage the media to provide appropriate information concerning all aspects of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, with due respect for the independence of the media and freedom of the press.

4. Each Party shall encourage the !nancing, including, where appropriate, by the creation of funds, of the projects and programmes carried out by civil society aiming at preventing and protecting children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.

Prevention

Article 4 Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to prevent all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children and to protect children.

Article 7 Each Party shall ensure that persons who fear that they might commit any of the offences established in accordance with this Convention may have access, where appropriate, to elective intervention programmes or measures designed to evaluate and prevent the

risk of offences being committed.

Also see Multidisciplinarity, which includes several articles regarding collaboration to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation

Other (compensation.. non prosecution & non punishment)

Article 5. 3Each Party shall take the necessary legislative or other measures, in conformity with its internal law, to ensure that the conditions

to accede to those professions whose exercise implies regular contacts with children ensure that the candidates to these

professions have not been convicted of acts of sexual exploitation or sexual abuse of children.

Article 15.16.17 Intervention programmes or measures

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