World Day for the Prevention of and healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence

18th November 2023

The 18th of November is a day which is associated with the protection of children from all forms of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation. All children have the right to live a life free from such abuse, which may have long lasting effects on them.

In 2015, the Council of Europe declared this day as the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. As of last year, the United Nations General Assembly also declared the 18th of November as the World Day for the prevention of and healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence.

This day reminds all those working in the best interests of children to renew their commitment to prevent and eliminate child sexual exploitation, abuse and violence, both online and offline. This can be done through the provision of quality education and awareness raising. Children should, from an early age, be taught about what kind of behaviour can lead to abuse.

This year, the European Day will be focusing on ‘Learning from victims/survivors of childhood sexual violence to inspire policy change’. It is important to engage with victims and survivors of such abuse so as to learn from their traumatic experiences and provide the necessary support. The Office of the Commissioner for Children forms part of the Lanzarote Committee which is responsible for the monitoring of the implementation of the Convention on Protection of Children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.

The 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. It is important to hold perpetrators to account as well as to provide the necessary protection and support for children to prevent stigmatization, promote their healing, affirm their dignity and protect their rights.

To mark this day and to prevent such abuse, the Office is distributing ‘Kiko and the Hand’, a Council of Europe Publication, amongst all children in Kinder 2. This is a story book which acts as a tool for parents and educators to address the issue in an age-appropriate manner.

The Office of the Commissioner for Children 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. Online sexual abuse can be reported through the hotline