La Croix: Minors represented 26% of all complainants for sexual violence in 2021. The facts they reported to the police were, moreover, sometimes old. How to analyze it?
Edouard Durand: These figures constitute, paradoxically, a very positive signal. We know, in fact, that the sexual violence committed against children is the subject of massive under-revelation. The victims and their families generally go very little to the police stations to denounce this intimate violence. The increase in complaints in 2021 therefore shows that the law is regaining its place. Victims turn more to the institutions that are supposed to protect them, which is fundamental. This shows that they trust them again.
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I see a direct effect of the liberation of speech after #MeToo, #MeTooInceste, the books of Christine Angot and Camille Kouchner, the work of Ciase on pedophilia in the Church. The Independent Commission against incest and sexual violence against children (Ciivise), which I co-chair, is in turn faced with a wave of testimonies of immense magnitude. Already 9,000 people have contacted us. All this shows that society is changing and saying to itself: “We are all responsible. »
Can we hope for the end of a denial?
IT’S. D.: Yes, provided that this freedom of speech leads to effective protection. Indeed, society must put in place mechanisms to welcome speech appropriately, at all levels. This requires better identification, adapted listening and reception protocols, etc. Beyond that, we will also have to provide better protection, because we cannot just say: “Tell us what you have experienced”, if behind this, we do not offer unconditional protection to the victim.
Also, the Ciivise is very happy to have obtained a mission from the major inspectorates (social affairs, justice, etc.). By the summer, they must dissect the chain of interventions of the various professionals around the child. The idea is to start from the situation of the teacher, the policeman, etc. up to the prosecutor, in order to understand how everyone at their level should be able to do so that the investigation succeeds. This is still too rare today.
Also, I am delighted that a real desire to progress exists at all levels. The National Gendarmerie, for example, is in the process of training all of its members in the recording of children’s words.
Are we at the beginning of the wave of revelations?
IT’S. D.: We are only at a first tremor. So far, silence has dominated, which represented a form of caution, given by society, to the aggressors. From now on, the word of the child is taken into account, but many have not yet spoken. Among adults and children, there are a considerable number of victims. La Ciivise is determined to support this movement. We must continue to denounce the extreme extent of this violence committed against minors, both in terms of their number and their seriousness.
→ PORTRAIT. Édouard Durand, child protection for vocation