Authorities didn’t show will to stop sexual violence against children, NGO

The Moldovan authorities didn’t take appropriate measures to ensure the rehabilitation of children-victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. Five years after the signing of the Lanzarote Convention, intervention measures against sexual aggressors are absent, the measures to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation are fragmented, while the protection of children against risks of online sexual abuse and exploitation remains a big challenge.

In a news conference at IPN on November 21, the International Center “La Strada” presented a study carried out in connection with the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse that is celebrated on November 18. Jurist and consultant in public policies Elena Botezatu said the situation in the Republic of Moldova remains alarming.

A large part of the cases of sexual abuse and exploitation involve parents, guardians or educators. Many of the children become victims of sexual abuse and exploitation at an early age. Elena Botezatu said information technology started to be broadly used in committing sexual abuse and exploitation. “There are no programs to train specialists, sexual education in schools is fragmented and assistance and protection services in crisis situations and rehabilitation or reintegration programs are absent,” stated Elena Botezatu.

According to “La Strada” president Ana Revenco, the authorities didn’t show will to stop the sexual violence against children. There is no platform that would define the responsibilities and obligations of institutions. “The lack of funds is a traditional response that we hear from the authorities. At international level, there are many programs that proved to be efficient and can be imported for being implemented,” she stated.

According to lawyer Natalia Bayran, the legal framework on online sexual abuse contains shortcomings that enable the abusers to avoid criminal punishment. “The safe use of information technology should be included in the school program,” stated Natalia Bayran.

The representatives of the Center “La Strada” recommend fulfilling the commitments undertaken when ratifying the Lanzarote Convention. The authorities are urged to develop counseling and assistance services for children-victims of sexual abuse and exploitation so as to ensure their rehabilitation and social reintegration and awareness-raising and re-socialization services for potential sexual aggressors.

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