Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson said public representatives must use all tools at their disposal to end violence against children.
Speaking after taking part in a European Parliament conference entitled ‘Global views on violence against children,’ Ms Anderson said;
“There are ongoing tragedies taking pace in countries like Syria, Central African Republics, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere and children are among those paying the highest price.
“We must not stand by while international conventions are flouted and a whole generation of children and young people are burdened with physical or mental scars which will take generations to heal.
“We must also look within Europe and recognise the impact of the financial crisis on children. When jobs are lost and families are in despair it is the children who suffer.
“Children also face new threats in the form or cyber bullying and online abuse and these too must be combatted.
“We need to educate people to look for the signs of child abuse and to enable them to speak up.
“A grassroots approach which empowers children, families and communities is the only way to make meaningful change and protect children and young people.
“As legislators it is our responsibility to use all the tools to ensure the protection of children.”