The National Day against Paedophilia and Child Pornography is celebrated on 5 May, as established by Law 41/2009. An important event aimed at keeping the focus on an often neglected phenomenon that affects a lot of children and young people, and which has very serious consequences for their health and their future.
Effective prevention strategies are needed to combat such abuse, including the participation of young victims themselves. The trusted child support group Telefono Azzurro is organising the event. Sexual abuse can take many forms. Let's talk about it together at the event scheduled for May 5 in Rome in the Istituto Tecnico Statale per il Turismo Cristoforo Colombo in via Panisperna 255, in which the children themselves will take part.
The students of the Colombo Institute, guided by their teachers, will lead the debate and take questions. The aim is to open a discussion on these issues between experts in the sector and young people to make the new generation increasingly aware of online risks and provide them with the resources and information they need to protect themselves and to deal with potentially dangerous situations.
Speakers will include: Roberto Fico, President of the Chamber of Deputies, Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Elena Bonetti, Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family, and Carla Garlatti, Guarantor Authority for Children and Adolescents.
The event will take place from 9.30 to 12.30 and will be streamed live on the sites of Telefono Azzurro, ANSA, Skuola.Net, and CampuStore.
According to data from Telefono Azzurro, children and adolescents are increasingly exposed to sexual abuse, increasingly perpetrated online, not only by adults but also by their peers and other young people. This is clearly demonstrated by a 64% increase in CSAM (Child Sexual Abuse Material) material found online compared to 2020, with 97% of reported cases relating to girls and young women. The association's press release states: "Compared to 2020, material depicting children and adolescents engaged in explicit sexual activities has almost doubled, while the cases of paedophilia and online sexual abuse handled by Telefono Azzurro have almost tripled".
On the National Day Against Paedophilia and Child Pornography, we would like to highlight the awareness campaign launched on 18 November by the Department for Family Policies to make the public more aware of the public service "114 – Emergenza infanzia (Child Support Helpline)", a free 24-hour phone line, which can be used to report potentially dangerous and difficult situations, and at-risk minors.
The service, set up by the Department for Family Policies and managed by Telefono Azzurro, is aimed at helping any child or adolescent who suffers from abuse or who finds themselves in a precarious, difficult, or crisis situation, and the adults who take care of them – The hotline offers real-time support from a live operator, is multilingual, and can be reached not only by phone, but also through chat app 114 and now also using the WhatsApp number 348 798 7845. Come out of the shadows. The campaign slogan is "Ask for Help". A promotional video was produced and shown exclusively on the internet and social media that depicts, in cartoon form, situations of violence and help being given. The idea is to inform children and make them more aware of the support services that are available to them if they suffer from abuse. The video and information about the campaign, made with the technical support of the Istituto degli Innocenti of Florence, can be found on the Department website, in the news section.
The Department of Family Policy uses a range of measures to deal with the prevention and fight against violence against minors and the various forms of sexual abuse they suffer. These include the drafting of a report that the President of the Council of Ministers submits annually to Parliament (pursuant to Article 17 of Law 269/1998), which contains information on the measures taken by all public administration bodies to protect minors from sexual exploitation and abuse and to provide support.
The Department also chairs the Observatory for the Fight against Paedophilia and Child Pornography, established under the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in 2006, which has the task of collecting and monitoring data and information on the measures taken by public administration bodies to prevent and reduce the incidents of sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people. On the National Day Against Paedophilia and Child Pornography on 5 May, the Observatory will meet in plenary session, with the Minister for Equal Opportunities and the Family, Elena Bonetti, in attendance to approve the National Programme to Prevent and Combat Child Abuse and Sexual Exploitation.
To provide even more in-depth information, we will also propose the normative framework on the topic of sexual abuse and exploitation against children and adolescents developed by the Department for Family Policies and the Centro nazionale di documentazione e analisi per l’infanzia e l’adolescenza (National Centre for Documentation and Analysis for Children and Adolescents). This document describes the legal instruments that, at international and national level, make it possible to combat the phenomenon of paedophilia and child pornography, prevent sexual abuse and exploitation, and stop girls and young women from falling victim to these crimes.
Finally, the following study materials selected by the Biblioteca Innocenti Library B.C. Moro will be included: bibliographic research on paedophilia; bibliographic research on child pornography; bibliographic research on online child pornography.
More material and updates on the topics of Child Pornography and Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents can be found on the website under the "Topics" menu.