Every Second Counts: Europe-wide petition demands that the EU tackle child abuse on the internet | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

On International Children’s Day and International Day of the Parent, survivors of child sexual abuse, child protection activists and celebrities come together from every country in Europe to launch Every Second Counts – a campaign that demands the EU puts an end to child online sexual violence. The campaign aims to collect hundreds of thousand signatures during the campaign. 

The petition will be presented to the EU in September. 

A coalition of child abuse survivor groups, child protection organisations and parents’ associations are coming together to demand the EU leaders protect children from online sexual harm. 

The coalition is launching a campaign that brings together the powerful voices and experiences of survivors, safeguarders and supporters calling on citizens of Europe to sign a petition that demands law makers to pass the European Commission’s proposal to prevent and combat child sexual abuse. The campaign, Every Second Counts, highlights that every second, two images of a child being sexually abused, are shared online. The legislation, if passed, would be the first of its kind at this scale, providing a template for a global response to an issue that is growing at an alarming rate. 

Recent data published by the Internet Watch Foundation highlights that the extent of this crime against children of all ages has greatly increased year on year. More images and videos involving the most extreme sexual abuse were found online in 2022 than ever before. Sickeningly, over 80% of URLs containing sexual abuse of children aged 0-2 are in the extreme category. They also found that commercial pages or those pages depicting sexual abuse of children for commercial gainhave doubled since 2020. As in previous years, the majority of global reports of child sexual abuse material are hosted on URLs in an EU Member State. 

We are proud to join ‘Every Second Counts’ campaign and urge the EU member states to address online child sexual abuse and exploitation. Our work at the Safe Online Initiative has demonstrated that we need political will to regulate digital spaces and create meaningful action across the digital ecosystem – Data has shown us that voluntary action by industry is not enough- And that is why we are calling for EU member states to take action now and create a blueprint for the world to follow.

Marija Manojlovic, Director, Safe Online 

The petition was launched by the Justice Initiative, a collection of 150 survivor focused organisations from across 13 European countries and is also supported by the Child Safety On campaign, a coalition of child protection organisations spanning Europe. 

Children are spending more and more time online through all manner of devices and platforms; the proposal looks to protect children wherever they are so they can live, learn, and thrive in their digital worlds without the threat of online child sexual abuse. 

The time to act is now. Every second counts. 


Image: © UNICEF/UN046201



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