The Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, also known as “the Lanzarote Convention” (2007), requires criminalisation of all kinds of sexual offences against children.
It sets out that states in Europe and beyond shall adopt specific legislation and take measures to prevent sexual violence, to protect child victims and to prosecute perpetrators.
The Convention ensures that certain types of conduct are classified as criminal offences, such as engaging in sexual activities with a child below the legal age (18 years) and child prostitution and pornography. Furthermore, it criminalises the use of the new technologies to sexually harm or abuse children, for example by grooming.
In attempting to combat child sex tourism, the Convention establishes that individuals can be prosecuted for some offences even when the act is committed abroad.
Preventive measures outlined in the Convention include the screening, recruitment and training of people working in contact with children, making children aware of the risks and teaching them to protect themselves, as well as monitoring measures for offenders and potential offenders.
The Convention also establishes programmes to support victims, encourages people to report suspected sexual exploitation and abuse, and sets up telephone and internet help lines for children.
Awareness-raising leaflet (related to the Lanzarote Convention) on sexual violence: "Tell someone you trust", aimed at children aged between 9 and 13: Download the "Tell Someone You Trust"
Since launching the Programme "Building a Europe for and with children", in Monaco in 2006, the Council of Europe has implemented strategies over a series of policy cycles to guide its work on children’s rights.
The current Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021) was adopted in Sofia in April 2016.
Priorities of the plan are: