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Council of Europe calls on member states to protect children against sexual abuse
November 20,2015   By:Xinhua
BRUSSELS, Nov.20,2015-- The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe on Wednesday called on member states to raise awareness and protect children against sex abuse and exploitation.
One in five children under the age of 18 in Europe is a victim of sexual violence. In 70-85 percent of cases, the perpetrator is a person known to the child and part of their "circle of trust", according to a press release of the Council of Europe.
However, much of the suffering remains hidden because children feel afraid to speak out and in 90 percent of cases, abuse is not reported to the police, according to the press release.
Wednesday is the first ever European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. The decision to establish the day was taken in May this year by all 47 member States of the Council of Europe.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland said child sex abuse is still a no-go conversation topic in many European countries .
"Our silence builds a protective wall around the perpetrators. We have a responsibility to shatter the taboos which are exploited by paedophiles,and governments can lead by example by backing the European Day's activities," Jagland said.
The Council of Europe's Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention) obliges governments to criminalize all kinds of sexual offences against children, including online, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators.
Thirty-nine Council of Europe's states have so far ratified the Lanzarote Convention. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Norway, Slovakia and the UK have signed, but not ratified it. Germany has ratified the Convention on Wednesday.
Activities to mark the day will be taking place across member states. 
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