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News article3 March 2023Joint Research Centre2 min read

Helping Member States to apply EU rules on combatting child sexual abuse

Why do Member States struggle to implement effective prevention initiatives, as required by the EU Directive on combatting child sexual abuse

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Helping Member States combat child sexual abuse
© 2023

Newly published JRC research finds that the complex coordination and resources required to implement prevention initiatives can explain these challenges.

Less than a year after the European Commission presented a new proposal to combat child sexual abuse, a new report from the JRC illustrates how 14 agreed classification criteria and tags can support an EU-wide approach by adopting a common taxonomy.

Currently there is no concrete framework to systematically catalogue all the efforts achieved so far by Member States in this field. This hinders the possibilities of an EU-wide approach to prevention, as well as the sharing of challenges, lessons learnt and related promising practices.

The JRC report on Help Seeker and Perpetrator Prevention Initiatives features five case studies that demonstrate how a common taxonomy can foster a comprehensive description of a specific initiative in a structured yet concise manner, thereby enhancing knowledge and comparison between initiatives.

Member States and other stakeholders can use this information when designing and implementing tailor-made prevention policies according to their respective cultural and societal environments and needs.

The report also has an updated mapping of over one hundred prevention initiatives from across the EU and beyond, gathered in four categories targeting:

  1. people who fear they may offend
  2. people currently undergoing criminal proceedings or who are serving a prison sentence for crimes relating to sexual offences against children
  3. people coming out of prison, to help avoid any recidivism
  4. juveniles and minors

This research is at the core of a forth­coming EU Prevention Platform, which will serve as a database of national prevention initiatives. It will enhance knowledge dissemination and sharing of promising practices, including the above-mentioned case studies. This Platform will support the work of the CSA Prevention Network, being developed to bring together experts in the field and EU Member States to share good practices and work on challenges. 

The fight against child sexual abuse and exploitation is a key priority for the European Commission.  Researchers from the JRC, jointly with DG Migration and Home Affairs, are working closely in implementing the EU strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse.

A three-fold perspective based on European Union policy compliance, knowledge capacity building, and research is used by JRC researchers to support the implementation of several EU strategies. Examples include the EU strategy on the rights of the child, the EU Security Union Strategy, the EU strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse, and the EU Strategy on victims’ rights (2020-2025).

Keen to be included in the EU Prevention Platform? You are welcome to contact the report authors to find out how.


Publication date
3 March 2023
Joint Research Centre
JRC portfolios