The approval of the National Programme to Prevent and Combat the Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children

2022/05/09 Type of resource: Topics: Titles:

The Supervisory body for the fight against paedophilia and child pornography, meeting in plenary session in the presence of the Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family, Elena Bonetti, approved the National Programme to Prevent and Combat the Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children.

The Programme was ratified on 5 May, the National Day against Paedophilia and Child Pornography, established by Law 41/2009 to keep the focus on an often neglected phenomenon that affects a lot of children and young people, and has very serious negative consequences for their health and their future.

The Supervisory body - established within the Department for Family Policies and chaired by the Head of the Department, Ilaria Antonini – is composed of representatives appointed by the Autorità politica con delega alla famiglia e alle pari opportunità (Political Authority with delegation to the family and equal opportunities), and representatives of central administration bodies, law enforcement agencies, and national associations operating in the sector. L’Istituto degli Innocenti (The Institute of the Innocents) has been providing technical and scientific assistance to the work of the Supervisory body for a long time, while the Guarantor Authority for Children and Adolescents, the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate, and the Italian Episcopal Conference participate as permanent guests.

The National Programme to Prevent and Combat the Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children complements the National Plan of Action and Interventions for the Protection of the Rights and Development of Persons of Developmental Age, ratified by the National Supervisory Body for Children and Adolescents on 21 May 2021.

An article published on the Department for Family Policies website states, "For the purposes of drawing up the Programme, four working groups were set up covering the following topics: 1) Awareness-raising and training initiatives; 2) Interventions on behalf of victims and perpetrators; 3) Security in the digital world; 4) Development and sharing of databases. For the first time, a group of about 70 children from educational institutions, childcare facilities, and recreational and sports associations participated in the drafting of the plan and made their own recommendations on the topics discussed by the working groups. The new National Programme defines the strategic objectives (prevention, protection, raising of awareness) in policies and measures to be taken in the areas of education, equality, and empowerment, similar to the definitions setting out the process for measures to be taken in the V Piano nazionale infanzia (Fifth National Programme for Children)".

The document, ratified on 5 May, provides for: measures to prevent abuse of minors, through formal and non-formal education, with particular attention to those living in at-risk families or in vulnerable situations (education); measures to protect children and young people, with particular attention to those with a disability, or living in difficult conditions or a vulnerable environment (equality); promotion and implementation of mechanisms of protection, and measures and strategies to involve and protect young citizens with respect to access to new technologies, as well as for the planning and evaluation of public policies in the sector (empowerment).

A slide presentation of the Programme is available on the Department for Family Policies website.

More material and updates on the topics of Child Pornography and Sexual abuse against children and adolescents can be found on the website under the "Topics" menu.