Save the Children Europe group presents this policy paper in response to the fact that very few children abused for the production of child abuse images are being identified, despite the existence of primary evidence within the abusive pictures.
In a society where child sexual abuse is shrouded in secrecy and denial, the vast majority of abused children and adult survivors remain silent about the abuse they have suffered. Coercive techniques (grooming) of child sexual abuse offenders and the failure of child protection systems to protect victims and support disclosure exacerbate the situation. The abuse continues when photographic evidence of child sexual abuse is circulated through new technologies and child protection systems fail to coordinate their actions to identify and protect the victims.
Save the Children has been active for many years in raising awareness about the issue of child abuse and has implemented programmes to combat child abuse in all its forms.Within this programme framework, Save the Children provides direct help to children who have suffered sexual abuse by providing support through appropriate therapeutic projects.
Since the mid 1990s six members of the Save the Children Europe group1 have been engaged in combating the digital distribution of images depicting the sexual abuse of children and in raising awareness about child sexual abuse and exploitation via the Internet and other new technologies. These organisations have worked together to implement hotlines, awareness raising campaigns and advocacy activities calling for increased and improved efforts at national and international levels to fight sexual abuse of children and the production and distribution of child abuse images (”child pornography”).