“Keeping children safe, protecting their rights, guaranteeing their basic needs are met and empowering them not only to succeed but to thrive in life is a priority for the EPP Group”, said Ewa Kopacz MEP and European Parliament Children’s Rights Coordinator. Today, the EPP Group outlined these and other key policy priorities in a new Position Paper ahead of the forthcoming EU Strategy on Children’s Rights, due later this week.
“Caring for children must include essential access to quality early childhood care and education, adequate nutrition, healthcare services and housing. The EU must fight against physical, sexual, economic and psychological violence against children, as well as trafficking of children. Sadly, many children are affected, directly or indirectly, by domestic violence in their own homes too”, EPP Group Spokeswoman on Women’s Rights, Frances Fitzgerald MEP, said. “Preventing and eliminating child sexual abuse including the detection of child sexual abuse material online, apprehending the perpetrators and providing help and support for victims is an absolute priority for the EPP Group. We need clear measures and actions to keep children safe, online and offline”, added EPP Group Spokesman on Civil Liberties, Jeroen Lenaers MEP. The MEPs also point out the complexity and stress-inducing nature of family law court cases, particularly when they are cross-border. Greater public awareness and national service improvements could help, according to Marion Walsmann MEP, Vice-Chair of the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee: “We urgently need child-friendly justice systems in particular in child abuse cases. Adequate training for all professionals in contact with children, such as teachers, medical professions, juvenile prosecutors and family court judges is essential.” The EPP Group Position Paper calls on education and training systems to be reformed to ensure all children benefit equally from educational opportunities. The right of the child to rest and play, and the role of recreational activities and culture are also highlighted, amongst other wide-ranging policy actions to enable the EU to become a true champion of children’s rights.