Children have the right
to protection.

At Protect Children we do our utmost to ensure that no child is subjected to sexual harassment, grooming or any kind of sexual violence.

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We help give voice to children so that their views would be heard in our communities.

We advocate for child rights and support all efforts that guarantee that no child becomes the victim of sexual harassment, grooming or sexual violence.

We support professionals of any field or sector by providing child protection services and by offering training and specialist services.

The purpose of all of our work is to raise awareness and enhance the public discourse on the phenomenon.

We advocate for children, give advice, consult and organize seminars. We produce educational material for children, parents, caregivers and educators aimed at preventing child sexual harassment, grooming or sexual violence. We work in close partnership with national and international governmental organizations, with law enforcement, child protection agencies, companies and other relevant stakeholders.

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We build our work on scientific research and evidence based methods.

We are specialists in protecting children from sexual violence. We have years of expertise of national and international cooperation in preventing sexual crimes against children especially in the digital media. We evaluate our processes on a regular basis and constantly update our knowledge.

The guiding principles for all of our activities can be found here:

Childhood free of violence:

an action plan to prevent sexual violence against children 2020-2025 Part II (chapter 11: Laitinen&Vaaranen-Valkonen)

The EU Rights of Children

and especially the additional protocol with guidelines for preventing sexual crimes against children. (Vaaranen-Valkonen took part of the interagency working group for the opsc guidelines)

WePROTECT Global Alliance
Children’s Rights and Business Principles

Our work has a tangible effect on improving children’s right to be protected from sexual violence

Every child has the right to be safe from any kind of violence. Sexual violence is one of the most adverse and traumatic childhood experience (ACE) but there are always ways to recover with the help of timely, evidence based treatment and psychosocial support.

Any images/footage recorded of the sexual crime, shared and distributed over the internet further violates the rights and well-being of the child victim.

We give our expertise to analyze the illegal child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in Project Arachnid. This helps the law enforcement to work on victim identification as well as to takedown the illegal images from the internet. CSAM profoundly wounds a child victim, their family and their close ones.

Online CSAM is a continuum of harm that slows down the recovery process. Therefore, it is extremely important to use the most effective methods and technology of Project Arachnid to remove the illegal CSAM.

We have received extensive training by Interpol and INHOPE and have several years of experience analyzing CSAM.

Collaboration with companies

Corporate responsibility and sustainability may be executed in different ways. We are happy to work together to find an angle that would best suit and benefit your business and to fulfill your corporate responsibility and sustainability while advancing child rights as well. Often the best solutions are guided by the strategic direction and visions of your business.

‘Doing Good is Good Business’

We have years of experience of collaboration with companies and advocating the Rights of the Child as part of corporate responsibility. We have created projects and innovations, and provide specialist consultation for product and service development.

We are experienced trainers with hundreds of employees from our collaboration companies trained.

We have proven skills on how to organize events, conferences and panel discussions with wide media attention and coverage.

We have experience on planning, creating and executing campaigns that have reached millions of people.

Contact us, let’s meet and find a way for you to make a difference for children.

Scientific and research partnerships

Our work is based on scientific research and evidence based methods. We evaluate our work on a regular basis.

We have experience in research and conducting large-scale surveys. We have worked with Helsinki University, government officials, regional state administrative agencies, law enforcement officials and child protection professionals for years.

You can learn more about our work in the chapter we wrote in “Sexual harassment, grooming and sexual violence in digital media” for a national action plan.

Currently we are in partnership in the following scientific working groups:

  • • Thesis: The Police University College POLAMK & Canadian Center for Child Protection
  • • Thesis: Law, EU & International law
  • • Case study: “When images spread”


You can learn more about specialist Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen by reading a case study she published in the 2013 book Sexual taboos in a closed community

Vaaranen-Valkonen has co-produced a Question and Answer type card game in Finnish and Swedish to facilitate dialogue with children who have been victims of sexual violence, other abuse, or violence within the family unit. “What do you know” – cards have been developed as part of a trauma focused, cognitive-behavioral therapy method (TF-CBT) that has been proven an effective mode of therapy for treating children’s experiences as victims of violence.

They help the therapist or caregiver aid the child in processing their thoughts, feelings and behaviors that arise from their experience of violence and thus enable them to correct false beliefs and receive psychoeducation. Studies show that there is a direct correlation between the quality, timing and amount of support and understanding the child receives after surviving such a violent experience to how well they are able to heal. More information here.

The Organization

“We decided to help protect children in a very concrete way. We wanted to have an organization in Finland whose one and only focus is to work toward preventing sexual crimes against children. We believe that the work requires specialized knowledge and education in both social and health care fields as well as years of experience. An amazing opportunity opened up for us and we now have two of Finland’s premier experts directing the work of the organization”

– Protect Children.

Meet our team below:

Nina
Vaaranen-Valkonen

Executive Director, Senior Specialist, Psychotherapist
+358 40 747 8829

Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen is the Executive Director, Senior Specialist and Psychotherapist at Protect Children. She has worked for 15 years protecting children from sexual violence. She works in multiple national and international senior specialist working groups and has lectured at national and international conferences. She has dedicated her career and life to furthering the rights of victims of sexual violence as well as the families of the victims. She also works as a psychotherapist and is specialized in treating trauma patients.

Anna
Ovaska

Legal specialist, Lawyer
+358 40 081 0020

Anna Ovaska, LL.M., is a Lawyer and Legal Specialist at Protect Children. She is specialized in international criminal law and child rights. Anna is especially interested in transboundary crimes and cybercrimes. Anna completed her LL.M. thesis on trafficking and CSAM offences and proposed necessary reforms to strengthen child protection.

Katariina
Leivo

Specialist in Developmental Psychology
+358 40 081 8030

Katariina Leivo is a Specialist in Developmental Psychology at Protect Children. Katariina spent 17 years in London which gave her great experience in working in a multicultural environment, first in the school environment and then in various psychology services. Katariina’s studies and career have focused on early development, and especially on the importance of attachment in childhood development.

Matilda
Sandvik

Child Rights Specialist
+358 40 081 8002

Matilda Sandvik, LL.M., is a Child Rights Specialist at Protect Children. She is specialized in the realization of the rights of the child particularly in the cyberspace. During her master’s degree studies she focused on the right to privacy and personal data protection and wrote her LL.M. thesis on the issue of balancing these rights with children’s right to protection from online sexual exploitation and abuse in EU law.

Tegan
Insoll

Project Researcher
+358 40 610 2000

Tegan Insoll is Project Researcher at Protect Children. She has an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law and is specialised in global health law and children’s rights. Tegan is particularly interested in the responsibilities of non-state actors in the realisation of human rights.

Contact Us – Let’s Protect Children together!

Nina Vaaranen-Valkonen

Executive Director, Senior Specialist

+358 40747 8829
nina.vaaranen-valkonen@suojellaanlapsia.fi
@NinaVaaranen

Anna Ovaska

Specialist in Global Criminal Law

+358 40 081 0020
anna.ovaska@suojellaanlapsia.fi

Mailing and office address: Alppikatu 20, 00530 Helsinki (Office visits by appointment only)