With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for child victims of violence.
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Unfortunately, children are still victims of abuse and violence across Europe. Although it is difficult to assess the extent of violence against children and much of it remains hidden, existing estimates give cause for great concern. Violence against children can take various forms (physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or neglect) and can happen in numerous situations (at home or in the family, at school, within institutions responsible for childcare, or within the community).
Children have the same rights as adults because human rights apply to all age groups. Lacking in physical and psychological maturity they are particularly vulnerable and they need protection in order to grow and develop.
Although child protection systems are principally the responsibility of individual countries, the European Union also plays an important role. The EU is deeply committed to protecting children against violence. For that purpose, it has adopted a number of laws (for example against sexual abuse and exploitation and child pornography, against human trafficking, and for the protection of children in criminal proceedings) and initiatives (better internet for children). EU action in this area has a direct impact on the relevant laws and policies introduced by EU countries.
To protect children’s rights and combat violence towards children more effectively, the EU is also funding a number of projects within its Rights, Equality and Citizenship, and Justice programmes, both running until 2020.
- EPRS publication on violence towards children in the EU, 2014, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/IDAN/2014/542139/EPRS_IDA(2014)542139_EN.pdf
- European Commission, website on violence against children, https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/rights-child/violence-against-children_en
- EPRS publication on combating sexual abuse of children (Directive 2011/93/EU), 2017, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2017/598614/EPRS_STU(2017)598614_EN.pdf