29 March 2010

EU - European Commission wants stronger sanctions against child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and child pornography

The European Commission has proposed new rules obliging EU countries to impose more severe punishment on those who sexually abuse children. The proposal also calls for criminal prosecution of activities like 'grooming' (befriending children with the intention of sexually abusing them) and "sex tourism", even if the child abuse has taken place outside the EU. The Commission also wants more to be done to prevent these offences and to protect the victims. It particularly wants to make sure that offenders can get tailor-made treatment so that they don't abuse again. Member States will be obliged to ensure that access to websites containing child pornography can be blocked, as they are very difficult to take down at the source, especially if the site is outside the EU. The proposal will leave it to Member States to decide exactly how the blocking should be implemented but legal safeguards will always apply. See MEMO. Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA COM(2010)94 final.