The exhibition “SHAME – European Stories”, a unique collection of 100 portraits of adult victims of child abuse from all over Europe, was inaugurated at the “Melina” Cultural Center of the Municipality of Athens, 66 Heraklion, in Thisio. It is the work of the award-winning journalist Simone Padovani for the Justice Initiative, a project that gives a voice to victims of abuse and seeks to show the injustices they suffered as children, to awaken and open the public debate in Europe on the subject of violations.
The exhibition is European, under the auspices of the Council of Europe, and in Athens, under the auspices of the Municipality of Athens.

Angeliki Vergitsi, Director – Justice Initiative in Greece

JUSTICE INITIATIVE: The European campaign against child abuse

Abuses in closed structures, children removed from their families, forced adoptions, abuses by clergy: tens of thousands of victims of exploitation, abuse and sexual abuse live in the center of Europe. As a result of the abuse they have suffered, they still have serious physical and psychological problems to this day, living in conditions of poverty, old age or social isolation, without special support from the state and society. “Victims still suffer greatly even today from the abuse they experienced as children. However, most countries have, even today, failed to recognize, come to terms with the fact of abuses and ultimately restore justice. “This is not compatible with European values,” says Guido Fluri. Together with survivor groups from across Europe, she launched the Justice Initiative (, which aims to tackle abuse in Europe.


Thanks to the Justice Initiative, a resolution is submitted to the Council of Europe, of which Greece is also a member. According to the resolution, this political initiative has a clear objective: the Council of Europe and the member states must ensure an independent scientific investigation into the violation of children’s rights in individual countries. The Council of Europe and the Member States should ensure the official recognition of children who have suffered any kind of violence, sexual, physical or psychological. Likewise, the proposal calls for victims to receive some form of compensation and for existing laws in member states to be geared towards protecting all children from abuse and ill-treatment.


In Greece, too, there are thousands of survivors of abuse. The exhibition in Athens aims to open the eyes of those who visit it, says the director of the Hub of the Justice Initiative, Angeliki Vergitsi: “The exhibition in Athens should intensify the discussion about violations here in Greece as well. As elsewhere in Europe, we have a lot of room for improvement in protecting children. The survivors of the past must be vindicated and the children of today must be given greater protection.”


JUSTICE INITIATIVE & #safeforkids Campaign for safer internet use

The Justice Initiative has launched and supports political campaigns to change legislation in several European countries, including Greece, to address the phenomenon of child sexual abuse on the Internet given that the scale of the phenomenon is growing exponentially. At European Union (EU) level, the Justice Initiative launched a signature collection to end child sexual abuse online.
Effectively combating online violence requires clear rules and safeguards. ISPs should be legally obliged to detect, report and remove abusive content from the internet.


75,000 Greeks and more than half a million Europeans have so far signed the petition for a safe #safeforkids internet and they can still do so at:

The campaign continues, because every second counts.

SHAME – European stories

MEXRI ON SUNDAY OCTOBER 8 at the Spiritual Center of the Municipality of Athens Melina, 66 Iraklideon, 11851 Thisio, Athens. (tel. 210 3452150)


Further information/media contacts:

Angeliki Vergitsi (Hub Director, Justice Initiative-Greece)
Phone +30 6937 903709 mail: [email protected] [email protected]