3. Changing laws in Europe
The Council of Europe has published a report about the Convention on the Protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse
This is not a law, but a convention between the European states, signed by their ministers who promise to follow the convention, thus to change the laws of their states according to the appointments in the convention.
There have been earlier versions, since 1996. By discussing sucj kind of conventions, the ministers usually do not delete topics, usually they add paragraphs. At the end, there must be consensus.
So, the right for children to be protected against child sexual abuse has been added since then - without defining what CSA is.
Under a., "Child" is defined as any person under the
age of 18 years.
The kernel of the text can be found in articles 18 through 23 of Chapter 6
The full text of article 18 is quoted below
Suggestion for an amendment
The interesting part is, that a comparatively small amendment to remark 3 could make a very important difference. This remark says that it is not intended to strive for criminalisation of "consensual sexual activities between minors".
This is a very important remark, since it implies that the EU officially states that "consensual sexual activities" with minors involved exist and are not to be considered sexual abuse.
The problem, however, is that, although it does not address this issue in a direct way, the convention seems to suggest, or may be read by some people as if it suggests, that all sexual activities between adults and minors are to be considered as sexual abuse. This suggestion would be removed when the phrase "between minors" were removed from remark 3.
That would also force both the authors of the convention and the politicians in the various countries that have to make their national laws comply with this convention, to define how to recognize the distinction between consensual sexual activities and sexual abuse. And that's exactly the discussion I would like to have in today's politics.
So, let's think about how, when and where is the right way to address this issue and ask for a clarification whether in certain cases sexual activities between adults and minors could be considered as "consensual activities" that are not to be classified as "sexual abuse".
The text of this convention will probably be on the agenda of some future meeting of European Prime Ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Apart from the amendment I suggest here, of course more amendments or additions could be suggested for various parts of the convention.
Article 48 – Reservations
Until now, laws have been different in several European countries. The age of consent for child pornography in Germany is officially 14 - but in practice 16. In the Netherlands, it is 18. In the UK, a law to forbid also specific drawings has been proposed, but not yet enacted.
Is any influence possible? Not directly. Only via your own government, thus the national politicians - and by publicity. Many influential people had a conference in Stockholm, mentioned in the Convention. In such a conference, relatively small groups can have much influence. Maybe also scientists and human rights organizations might have influence. They might be able to ask attention for explicit mistakes of justice, for tunnel visions, for ideology.