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New Council of Europe film revisits the choice made by a young girl facing sexual abuse within her circle of trust

"The Lake" - short film encouraging children to speak out about sexual abuse within the circle of trust

To mark End Child Sex Abuse Day (18 November 2021), the Council of Europe is launching a new short film which encourages children and young people to “break the silence” over sexual abuse within their circle of trust.

Around a Lake, created by acclaimed French filmmaker Roland Edzard, is a follow-up to his award-winning film The Lake, produced in 2013 as part of the Council of Europe’s “ONE in FIVE” campaign, and features the same actors eight years later.

The original film, produced in eight languages and viewed millions of times on European TV stations as well as on the Assembly’s website, YouTube channel and Facebook pages, told the harrowing story of a young girl who is abused by her new step-father during a seemingly happy visit to a swimming lake. She must decide whether or not to “break the silence” he imposes on her.

Bringing the original cast together again eight years later, the new film consciously blurs the distinction between actors and characters to explore the dramatic and long-lasting impact of sexual abuse and the silence which can surround it. It features the original clip but adds haunting new material which reinforces the message to young victims of the liberating power of speaking out about their experience, and challenges all of us to do more to keep children safe.

The new film, produced in five languages, has been made possible with the support of the parliaments of Armenia, Austria, Cyprus, France, Portugal, and Switzerland. The original film was made possible with the support of the A.G. Leventis Foundation.

Around a Lake, which is around four minutes long, is available in English, French, German, Italian and Russian. The original 2013 film The Lake is available in either a two-minute version for TV or a 30-second version for social media, in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Greek, Romanian and Ukrainian. Both films may be downloaded and used rights-free in any non-commercial context.