Ending violence against children: a Council of Europe contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals
- Parliamentary Assembly
debate on 27 June 2019 (25th and 26th Sittings) (see Doc. 14894, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and
Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Baroness Doreen Massey). Text adopted by the Assembly on 27
June 2019 (26th Sitting).See also Recommendation 2159 (2019).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly believes
that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Target
16.2 to “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence
against and torture of children” is one of the most important goals
of all. It is also one of the top targets for which the contribution
of the Council of Europe, the Assembly itself, as well as of member
governments and parliaments, will prove to be the most valuable.
Ending violence against children should be a political priority:
half of the world’s children suffer violence every year. The economic
costs of this violence are huge, estimated at 8% of the world’s
gross domestic product, making it difficult, if not impossible,
to reach many other important SDGs, such as the elimination of poverty.
However, the sheer scale of the ongoing epidemic of violence against
children also makes it one of the most accessible and cost-effective
ones to address.
The Assembly reiterates its commitment to contribute to accelerating
the pace of the implementation of the SDGs in order to ensure the
goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are reached,
as decided in Resolution
on strengthening co-operation with the United
Nations in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
With reference to Resolution
“Implementation of the Sustainable Development
Goals: synergy needed on the part of all stakeholders, from parliaments
to local authorities”, the Assembly underlines the urgent need,
in this context, to strengthen the role of national parliaments
and local and regional authorities in implementing and monitoring
the progress on achieving SDGs.
3. The Council of Europe, including the Assembly itself, has
prioritised the fight to end violence against children for over
a decade, and has developed ground-breaking, binding standards and
norms; it has monitored their implementation and provided guidance,
support and capacity building in ensuring their efficient application.
It has also provided a unique multistakeholder platform for exchange
of good practices and co-operation, data collection and awareness
raising. While plenty of work remains to be done, the Council of Europe
has built up a host of interconnected, mobilised and politically
influential bodies and institutions which reach right down to the
local level, civil society and children themselves, as a driver
for positive change.
4. The Council of Europe is thus well placed to support States
in addressing the challenges which hinder accelerated progress towards
ending violence against children: a lack of reliable and comparable
data, problems of co-ordination and clashing strategic priorities
at both national and international levels, unhealthy attitudes towards
children, who are in fact independent right-holders, and lack of
funding. The Assembly thus encourages all States, as well as the
United Nations, to derive the maximum benefit from the Council of Europe’s
expertise and experience with a view to addressing these challenges.
The Assembly believes that it is clear that violence against
children is perpetrated by the powerful against those lacking power.
Perpetrators are mainly male and mainly known to the victims. Some
children are particularly vulnerable. To end violence against children,
power structures, attitudes and the law will have to change. The
Assembly thus reiterates its recommendations contained in Resolution 2056 (2015)
the inclusion of children’s rights in national constitutions as
an essential component of effective national child policies.
The Assembly thus recommends that Council of Europe member
States make combating violence against children a national priority
and ensure that structures are in place to effectively combat violence
against children by providing:
allocation of budgets to deliver results and to implement prevention
high-quality services in education, health, social services
and child justice provided by professionals who receive continuous
training on evolving forms of violence in different settings which:
6.2.1 put a particular focus on adequate and timely support
for child victims of violence;
6.2.2 take concrete steps to prevent peer-to-peer violence;
6.3 structures and funding for local authorities to provide
these services, monitor their effectiveness and improve practice;
6.4 consultation, at local level, with communities, including
children, on the quality, appropriateness and impact of these services;
6.5 a national action plan on the implementation of the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development, and an integrated national strategy
on addressing violence against children which is based on a multidimensional
and multistakeholder approach (involving parliaments, local and
regional authorities, civil society and children themselves), as
promoted by the Council of Europe Policy guidelines on integrated
national strategies for the protection of children from violence
full implementation of the relevant Council of Europe
conventions, as State parties to them:
6.6.1 the Convention
on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse
(CETS No. 201, “Lanzarote Convention”);
6.6.2 the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human
Beings (CETS No. 197);
6.6.3 the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against
Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210, “Istanbul Convention”);
6.6.4 the Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 185, “Budapest Convention”).
7. The Assembly encourages Council of Europe member States to
increase, where necessary, funding and resources to poorer countries
in order to provide support for programmes to combat violence against
children worldwide. It also encourages member States to step up
action and support to end violence against children in the framework
of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, making
SDG Target 16.2 a top priority, and to report on the relevant work
of the Council of Europe in their reporting on its implementation.
The Assembly calls on national parliaments to step up their
involvement in the implementation and monitoring of SDG Target 16.2
8.1 holding annual evidence-based
debates on ending violence against children;
8.2 setting up a permanent children’s rights committee;
8.3 introducing “child budgeting” principles into their budgetary
8.4 networking across parliaments regionally and globally,
including in co-operation with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and
civil society organisations.