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Strengthening Collaboration between EU-Funded Projects Tackling Child Sexual Abuse

BLOG POST - March 2024 


Last week, Protect Children specialists travelled to Prague, Czech Republic, to attend meetings of several European Union funded projects dedicated to tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation. These meetings underscored the importance of collaboration and coordination between initiatives, highlighting the potential for greater impact when working together. 


The meetings were organised by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Center for Sexual Health and Interventions in the Czech Republic. 


Project Bridge Consortium Meeting and Advisory Board Meeting 

First on the agenda was the annual consortium meeting of Project Bridge, a unique international research project which brings together universities and organisations from six EU countries to improve interventions to prevent offending against children. The project, which Protect Children is a partner to, aims to evaluate preventative interventions for people with sexual urges involving children and people who view child sexual abuse material. 


Protect Children leads the recruitment work of Project Bridge and so presented the latest updates to the consortium and to members of the Advisory Board. Learn more about Protect Children’s work in Project Bridge.



Pictured: Tegan Insoll, Head of Research at Protect Children, presenting an update on recruitment to the Project Bridge consortium. 


Project Bridge & STOP-CSAM Projects  

On the second day in Prague, the Bridge consortium converged with STOP-CSAM, an EU-funded project which aims to address the problem of online child sexual abuse material by reaching potential offenders and redirecting them to a preventive online intervention. 


The meeting served as a reminder of the inherent value in synergising efforts across different projects. While each initiative has its own objectives and methodologies, the overarching goal of protecting children remains constant. By fostering collaboration and sharing resources, expertise, and insights, we can maximise our collective impact. 


Pictured: Bridge and STOP-CSAM joint meeting.


Launch of the Sparks in the Dark Initiative and Press Conference 

We were honoured to attend the launch of the Sparks in the Dark initiative. This collaborative effort is a beacon of hope in the fight against child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSAE), bringing together EU-funded projects and other initiatives to raise awareness and take action. 


Sparks in the Dark is a community-driven platform with a primary goal to showcase EU-funded projects and other initiatives focused on preventing and addressing CSAE. The initiative provides valuable insights and recommendations across three key areas: victim support, prevention, and detection. By raising awareness among professionals, policymakers, and citizens, Sparks in the Dark aims to foster collaboration and drive meaningful change.  


We are proud to share that our 2KNOW project is highlighted on the Sparks in the Dark platform as one of many fantastic initiatives working to address child sexual abuse and exploitation. 


2PS Project General Assembly Meeting  

The following day provided space for members of ‘Sparks in the Dark’ community to collaborate and exchange insights on the newest developments in the domain.



Pictured: Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen, Executive Director, and Valeriia Soloveva, Specialist.


Protect Children’s Executive Director Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen and Specialist Valeriia Soloveva introduced the organisation’s holistic approach to ending all crimes of sexual violence against children, emphasizing the importance of integrating the victim’s voice in offender-focused research.


Representatives from Charité, University of Bergen, Karolinska Institute, University of the West of England, Moore Center, and Lucy Faithfull Foundation shared their extensive knowledge and diverse approaches to preventing child sexual abuse. Finally, representatives from 2PS, Protech, CESAGRAM, STOP-CSAM, BRIDGE, Priority, and HEROES gave lightning presentations underlining the projects’ achievements and challenges.


The conference was closed with 2PS Project General Assembly Meeting on 21 March 2024, where the work package leaders outlined the progress, future plans, and collaboration opportunities within 2PS. Project 2PS – Prevent & Protect through Support is an EU funded project (2022-2025) that brings prevention to the forefront aiming to prevent harm to children before it occurs. 2PS is offering a paradigm shift in the approach to tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation across Europe. In the General Assembly meeting, consortium members conducted joined evaluation of the project, identifying strong and addressing weak sides of the project implementation.


Moving Forward

As we reflect on our experiences in Prague, we are inspired by the potential for collaboration to drive meaningful change in our work to protect children from sexual violence. Moving forward, we are committed to nurturing close partnerships and alliances, recognising that by working together, we can achieve far more than we ever could alone. It is through unity and cooperation that we will truly make a difference in creating a safer world for children everywhere.

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