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New legislation could put EU on the world map by holding big tech accountable for the dissemination of child sexual abuse materials

Eurochild supports the Right In Front of Us campaign asking lawmakers and tech companies to work together to stop online sexual abuse.

PRESS RELEASE

22 February 2023_ On the European Day for Victims of Crime we are proud to launch the Right In Front of Us campaign in partnership with 13 organisations dedicated to protecting children’s safety and rights online. We want children to feel safe at school, but who is ensuring that they are also safe online? Research shows that an average school classroom of 20 children may have as many as 13 children who have experienced a form of online sexual harm1

But a solution to online sexual abuse is right in front of us. A new law is being considered by the EU that would help stop online child sexual abuse. This law would require the EU to create a legal obligation for companies like Meta, TikTok and Google, to identify, remove, and report any child sexual abuse material on their platforms. Crucially, those companies will also be held accountable for failing to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse. We are working with teachers and educators across Europe to help mobilise their voice in making children safe away from the classroom. 

The legislation would be the first of its kind, providing a template for a global response to an issue that is growing at an alarming rate. Children are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and violence than at any other time, and the EU has become a hub for this kind of activity. 

With the #ChildSafetyOn campaign, Missing Children Europe, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, ECPAT International, Brave Movement, Canadian Centre for Child Protection, Internet Watch Foundation, NSPCC, End Violence Against Children, Thorn, 5 Rights Foundation, Terre des Hommes, Child Helpine International and Eurochild aim to raise awareness of the pressing need to protect children online and support the European Commission proposal to both prevent and combat child sexual abuse online.

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 campaign includes a petition launched by the Justice Initiative, a survivor focused NGO, a hero video, website, and social media content. The website and social media content is available in EN, FR, IT, ES, DE & NL.

>>> Sign the petition to support the legislation being passed, and protecting children.

1These findings come from a global study surveying more than 5,000 18-20 year olds in 54 countries worldwide, to understand more about their experiences of online sexual harms. WeProtect Global Alliance & Economist Impact. The survey refers to the average number of students per primary level class in selected European countries in 2019. Statista.

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