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Migration and Home Affairs

Child sexual abuse

The fight against child sexual abuse is a priority for the EU. The EU strategy for the period 2020-2025 sets out a comprehensive response to the growing threat of child sexual abuse both offline and online, by improving prevention, investigation, and assistance to victims.

The EU strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse includes 8 initiatives to put in place a strong legal framework for the protection of children and facilitate a coordinated approach across the many actors involved in protecting and supporting children.

The 8 initiatives aim to:

  • ensure complete implementation of the current rules (particularly Directive 2011/93/EU on combating sexual abuse and exploitation of children)
  • ensure that EU laws enable an effective response
  • identify legislative gaps, best practices and priority actions
  • strengthen the law enforcement efforts at national and EU level
  • enable EU countries to better protect children through prevention
  • establish a European centre to prevent and counter child sexual abuse
  • galvanise industry efforts to ensure the protection of children in their products
  • improve protection of children globally through multi-stakeholder cooperation

The Commission will ensure that the EU has the right legal framework to protect children. Where needed, the Commission will propose new legislation, particularly to clarify the role that online service providers can play to protect children. The Commission will also support national police forces to keep up with technological developments.

The strategy also sets out initiatives to boost coordination, including a prevention network for practitioners and researchers, examining the possibility to create a European Centre to prevent and counter child sexual abuse, cooperating with industry through the EU Internet Forum and supporting the WePROTECT Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation Online.

More about the fight against child sexual abuse

Legal framework to protect children

The Commission will propose new legislation where needed, particularly to clarify the role that online service providers can play to protect children.

Cooperation against child sexual abuse

The EU strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse underlines the importance of multi-stakeholder cooperation in the fight against child sexual abuse.

Policy timeline

  1. 2021, 24 March
    EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child
  2. 2021, 6 July
    Adoption of the ePrivacy derogation/short term legislation
  3. 2020, 24 July
    EU Strategy for a more effective fight Against Child Sexual Abuse
  4. 2020, 24 July
    EU Security Union Strategy
  5. 2019, 26 November
    European Parliament resolution on children’s rights on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
  6. 2019, 8 October
    Council Conclusions on combating the sexual abuse of children
  7. 2016, 16 December
    Report assessing the implementation of the measures referred to in Article 25 of Directive 2011/93/EU

    Report assessing the implementation of the measures referred to in Article 25 of Directive 2011/93/EU on combating sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography

  8. 2016, 16 December
    Report assessing the extent to which the MS have taken necessary measures in order to comply with Directive 2011/93/EU

    Report assessing the extent to which the MS have taken necessary measures in order to comply with Directive 2011/93/EU on combating sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography

  9. 2011, 13 December
    Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography

    Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography