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PACE calls for recognition of child abuse in institutions in Europe, following Swiss good practice

Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ (Switzerland, SOC)

According to PACE, the abuse of children in institutions in Europe must be recognised, whether they have been victims of sexual predators, gratuitous violence or ill-treatment in public, private or religious institutions.

Drawing on the example of good practice in Switzerland, PACE called for “full reparation for all violence committed against children” that truly reflects the seriousness of and is proportionate to the harm done. It is essential that member states recognise the suffering endured, provide management of after-effects, and ensure that victims, regardless of their age, are awarded compensation as reparation and redress for the harm done, with no time limit in relation to the date of the offences, the parliamentarians said.

By unanimously adopting a resolution today, based on the report by Pierre-Alain Fridez (Switzerland, SOC), PACE recommended that official and formal apologies be made to past and present victims, that perpetrators of these acts be prosecuted and sanctioned “without a statute of limitations”, and that places of remembrance of institutional mistreatment be created.

Finally, it proposed that member states take stock of the situation of violence committed in public, private or religious institutions against children in order to create the conditions for victims to speak out (including as adults), while analysing the circumstances conducive to such abuse: institutional care in public, private or religious settings, inadequate care, foster care in private homes, or forced adoption.