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Reporting and complaints

The ability to formally report or file a complaint regarding abuse or violence to judicial and law enforcement authorities on their own aims to ensure children’s protection, especially in regard to their right to physical and mental integrity.

This ability relies on children’s right to be heard and access justice. This issue is also relevant in the framework of the rights established for child victims and the special protective measures accorded to them in the Victims’ Rights Directive. No special rules, however, are provided at international or EU level regarding the minimum age from which a child can formally report or file a complaint regarding abuse or violence. Member States regulate this issue at the national level. Please note that this question focusses only on children formally reporting or complaining.


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Key aspects

  • In the majority of Member States (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom), no minimum age is required.
  • Age thresholds, when set, vary among Member States. In Greece, the minimum age is set at 12 years; in Hungary and Lithuania, at 14; in Finland, at 15; and in Croatia, the Netherlands and Portugal, at the age of 16.
  • The issue is not regulated in Ireland. Children under 18 cannot formally report or file a complaint on their own in Romania and Spain.

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Publication date: 24 April 2018

Minimum age requirements concerning children's rights in the EU - Specific data on Justice (514.52 KB)