The Steering Committee of the project “Towards a child-friendly justice for children victims of sexual violence” met for the first time on 8 March 2019 in Tunis, in the framework of the South Programme III, and in the context of Tunisia’s accession process to the Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention). The objective of this project and its Steering Committee is to improve the care and legal procedure for children victims of sexual violence.
Steered by the Tunisian Ministry of Justice and following a multi-disciplinary approach, this Committee gathered key actors in the field of protection of child victims, namely the Ministry of Women, Family, Children and Elders, the Ministry of Health (forensics and child psychiatrist divisions), the Ministry of the Interior, and the Child Protection Officer. It allowed them to assess the current state of play of sexual violence towards children in Tunisia and to define prioritised actions to implement in the framework of the orientations given by the Committee, in particular regarding the effective access for children to justice, the principle of single-hearing for children, the adaptation of the Tunisian judicial framework (revision of the Child Protection Code in progress) and the institutionalisation of inter-sectorial mechanisms of cooperation.
These actions will draw upon the standards comprised in the Lanzarote Convention, the principles set out in the Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on child-friendly justice, as well as on innovative practical examples such as the “Barnahus (Children’s houses)”, thus delivering a coordinated and comprehensive approach to cases of sexual abuse of children.
The South Programme III is a joint programme of the Council of Europe and the European Union, financed by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe.