European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

18th November 2021

Since 2015, the Council of Europe has declared the 18th of November as the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. All children have the right to live a life free from such abuse which may have long lasting effects on them.

This year, the European Day will focus on Making the circle of trust truly safe for children”. The vast majority of child sexual abuse occurs in the child’s circle of trust. When the abuse is carried out by a person they know, trust and even love, it is very difficult for children to disclose such abuse.

In order to mark this day, the Commissioner for Children, Ms Pauline Miceli, and the Hon. Minister for Social Justice and Solidarity, the Family and Children’s Rights, Dr Michael Falzon, launched the Maltese version of the Council of Europe Publication KIKO and the Manymes. This publication, which was translated into Maltese by the Office of the Commissioner for Children, is a story book for children between the ages of 4 and 7 about the misuse of photos in the online environment. A guide for parents and carers on how to prevent child online sexual abuse is also available. Kiko and the Manymes was printed with the support of BeSmartOnline! and will be disseminated amongst children.

Children should, from an early age, be taught about what kind of behaviour can lead to abuse. Over the next few days the Office will be distributing a copy of Kiko and the Hand, also a Council of Europe publication, to all children in Kinder 2 attending State, Church and Independent schools. This story book aims to help parents to engage in discussions with their children about what behaviour is acceptable and unacceptable.

The Office emphasises the importance of adults supporting children to report such abuse. Whoever is aware of any abuse being perpetrated against children, should report it. This can be done by calling supportline 179.