Photo: Crosswalk

On Friday, April 19, 2024 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) unanimously adopted a Resolution (N°2548) and a Recommendation (N°2274) on “The protection of children against online violence,” and the explanatory memorandum makes extensive reference to the work of the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) in this area.

In particular, Irish Senator Joseph O’REILLY (European People’s Party), rapporteur for these texts, expressly refers to the ECLJ website page containing the written contribution we sent just over a year ago to the PACE Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development. The aim of this contribution was to draw the rapporteur’s attention to the need to deal with child exposure to pornography, since this is part of violence against children online. We pointed out that while pornography is harmful to all people, children are particularly vulnerable to it: they watch it massively and suffer serious consequences. We thus recommended that it encourage governments to take various measures to protect children from this scourge.

It has to be noted that, taking up our work more than once and almost word for word, the rapporteur fully shares our concern about the massive exposure of children to pornography and its consequences (§25-26). He emphasises that “Preventing the exposure of children to pornography is particularly important, given the established effects on behaviour and development”. Like our contribution, it recalls that “pornography consumption [is] significantly associated with an increase in verbal and physical aggression”. It also highlights the existence of “a link between pornography consumption and compulsive sexual behaviour disorder” and “a correlation between pornography and sexual violence between young people”. The rapporteur also agrees with us that “Pornography must be understood as a public health issue, for which States are responsible for taking appropriate measures, including education and awareness-raising measures”.

To explain this massive phenomenon, the resolution adopted this morning at the plenary session explicitly blames the harmful role of the covid-19 pandemic, as well as the intensive use of smartphones by children.

This resolution includes several of our recommendations. PACE therefore calls on States to “take specific measures to protect young children from premature exposure to the digital environment given their vulnerability to, inter alia, violent, sexual or pornographic content” (4.3). These measures include introducing mandatory and effective age verification on websites (4.1), increasing the awareness and responsibility of parents and other educators with regard to child exposure to online pornography (4.2 and 4.5), and also making stakeholders in the technology industry, who are accountable for protecting children, more responsible.

It is encouraging to note that PACE declares itself “determined to further examine the issue of “violent pornography”, including pornography available online, taking into account the specific problem of children being exposed to such content.”

It is important to recall that PACE is part of the Council of Europe, an international institution that brings together 46 member states and is entirely distinct from the European Union. Although PACE brings together almost all European states, the texts it adopts are not binding but do have the authority of a political declaration.

The European Centre for Law and Justice is an international, Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights in Europe and worldwide. The ECLJ has held special Consultative Status before the United Nations/ECOSOC since 2007.

The ECLJ engages legal, legislative, and cultural issues by implementing an effective strategy of advocacy, education, and litigation. The ECLJ advocates in particular for the protection of religious freedoms and the dignity of the person with the European Court of Human Rights and other mechanisms afforded by the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and others.

The ECLJ bases its action on “the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of European peoples and the true source of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, principles which form the basis of all genuine democracy” (Preamble of the Statute of the Council of Europe).


Ova web-stranica koristi kolačiće za poboljšanje vašeg iskustva. Pretpostavit ćemo da se s time možete slagati, ali možete odbiti ako želite. Slažem se Opširnije...

Left Menu Icon