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Document 32011L0093

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Fighting online child sexual abuse

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  • Date of last review: 29/07/2014
  • Initial creation date: 29/07/2014
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  • Author: Publications Office

Fighting online child sexual abuse

Combating online child sexual abuse is a key part of an EU directive to tackle the broader problem of child sexual abuse. In addition, the EU is behind a global initiative to address this scourge.


Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA


Directive 2011/92/EU brings into line criminal offences relating to sexual abuse committed against children, the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography throughout the EU. It also lays down minimum sanctions. The rules include provisions aimed at combating child pornography online and sex tourism.

For example, Article 5(3) lays down a maximum term of at least 1 year of imprisonment for knowingly obtaining access, by means of information and communication technology, to child pornography. Offences and sanctions in the directive include the solicitation of children online for sexual purposes: proposing, via the Internet, to meet a child for the purpose of committing sexual abuse and, also via the Internet, soliciting the child to provide pornographic material of themselves (Article 6 of the directive).

EU countries must also ensure that child pornography web pages hosted within their territory are promptly removed and must strive to remove those hosted abroad. Furthermore, under certain conditions regarding transparency and Internet user information block access to these web pages in their territory (Article 25).

In a separate but related initiative, which is a joint initiative by the EU and the United States, 53 countries from around the world signed up, in 2012, to a Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online.

The 53 countries have committed to four key policy targets that it is hoped will lead to a larger number of rescued victims, more effective prosecution and an overall reduction in the number of child sexual abuse images available online.

The four targets are to:

  • step up efforts to identify victims and ensure that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection;
  • step up efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders;
  • increase awareness among children, parents, educators and the community at large about the risks;
  • reduce the availability of child pornography online and reduce the re-victimisation of children.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2011/92/EU



OJ L 335, 17.12.2011

Last updated: 28.07.2014