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  • Protect Children

United actions against child sexual abuse and exploitation – the launch of Sparks in the Dark

Updated: Jun 11

PRESS RELEASE 20.03.2024

Sparks in the Dark

Following the European Commission's strategy, the EU is allocating millions of Euros towards elevating the fight against child sexual abuse and exploitation (CSAE), funding a variety of initiatives designed to reinforce this crucial cause. Special programmes support the development of state-of-the-art technologies, comprehensive training, and dedicated actions targeting different dimensions of the CSAE landscape. Yet if the information and outputs are scattered and hard to find for different stakeholders, we will not maximise the opportunity and funding.

The critical element now extends beyond financial investment – communication is key. The ecosystem misses a collaborative space where skilled experts, dedicated practitioners, and researchers can exchange knowledge and policy recommendations. There is a need for a forum that allows projects to showcase outcomes and foster cooperation – building upon previous endeavours rather than starting anew.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of such a community of projects, introduced at the recent 'Sparks in the Dark Conference: United for Child Safety' in Prague (18-21 March 2024). This event brought together various EU-funded projects to share insights and experiences.

'Sparks in the Dark' aims to create links between significant initiatives in the domain, serving as a communal platform to highlight EU-funded projects and critical initiatives combating CSAE. The action elevates awareness among professionals, policymakers, and the public about impactful efforts against CSAE. Although focused on EU-funded projects, it also highlights other significant initiatives in this field.

The platform's main objective is to streamline the vast CSAE countermeasure landscape, covering prevention, detection, investigation, and support for victims and survivors, thus adopting a holistic approach. 'Sparks in the Dark' combines crucial reports, news, and campaigns from various initiatives and organisations, raising awareness about essential issues.

The website was initiated by the ARICA project, however, the ultimate aim is to encompass all EU-funded initiatives within this domain, creating a strong community committed to combating CSAE. If you believe you can contribute to improving the site, please consider joining the Sparks Community. As a crowdfunded initiative, your support can also aid in sustaining and developing the website. For more information on how you can help, please visit the community site.

United for child safety, we can make a significant change!

Child sexual abuse and exploitation represents a grave global issue, escalating at a distressing pace. In 2022 alone, the NCMEC’s CyberTipline received over 32 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation. The rapid advancement in technology poses additional risks to child safety, facilitating criminals in evading detection and perpetrating new forms of crime. Find more recent data on the Sparks in the Dark CSAE Response page.


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