Building a coordinated system of response against sexual violence towards children and adolescents in Albania
Sexual abuse of children and young people is an unacceptable reality and despite all measures to protect children and adolescents, sexual predators for a variety of reasons, legal, social and political, continue to cause significant harm to the lives and well-being of children in Albania and across the World.
According to the BECAN study, over 11% of children in Albania are victims of sexual violence and harassment. While law enforcement and justice authorities prosecute perpetrators of these heinous crimes, child protection services often are not prepared to provide services the victims require.
Given this, in January 2019, CRCA / ECPAT Albania, the leading child rights organization in the country, with over 22 years of experience in this area, established for the first time in Albania the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (ACA) - a new model of prevention and the treatment of sexual violence against children and adolescents, with a particular focus on girls and young women, without neglecting at any time sexual violence against boys.
In this context, we are working with some of the most serious partners in Europe and USA to build in Albania the model of a single-entry Center for social services and legal protection of children and adolescents who have experienced sexual violence in their daily lives and online, based on the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) model first implemented in USA and that is one of the models recommended by the Council of Europe's Committee of the Lanzarote Convention.
Due to the parallel systems of social protection, child protection and violence against women, as well as uncoordinated systems of law enforcement and justice, legal gaps etc., Albania is currently unable to build a coordinated system of response to sexual violence of children and adolescents. In this regard we are working to facilitate the process with all our national and international partners, until we reach a model that is accepted and implemented nationally in Albania.
The initiative "Building a coordinated system of response to sexual violence against children and adolescents in Albania" focuses on providing free psychological and legal services to children and young people victims of sexual violence, establish and test the ACA model in Albania, establish a national alliance against sexual violence in Albania, support legal initiatives to protect victims of sexual crimes and strengthening the capacity of law enforcement and child protection services to protect, rehabilitate and prevent sexual violence. A special component of the initiative is dedicated to online safety of children and youth and cyber-crimes committed against them.
WHO IS ACA?
Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is the first service in Albania trying to bring social protection, community and legal services together in a single place.
Because of how the child protection and justice system are designed in Albania, bringing all such needed services to protect, rehabilitate and reintegrate children and adolescents into a single environment requires legal solutions. ACA is the first serious effort that the CRCA / ECPAT Albania are undertaking to create and test the model that will then be implemented nationally.
CRCA has been licensed since 2011 to provide such specialised services at the community and national level, while it has 22 years of experience in child and youth protection services.
The ACA's services are coordinated with the Free Legal Aid Office for Vulnerable Children and Youth in Albania (FLAVCY), ALO 116, the National Platform for Safe Internet for Children, child protection services, the State Police and the justice system.
ACA offers the following services:
- Informationon any questions that children, adolescents, their parents, teachers or persons in contact with children may have;
- Awareness of children and adolescents on sexual relations, sexual violence and how to protect themselves in everyday life and online;
- Counselling in a family environment or in ACE officesfor every child and adolescent who thinks or has survived sexual violence and harassment;
- Legal counselling and legal aid on any suspected or verified case of sexual violence;
- Support for Reporting suspected or verified case of sexual violence against children and young people;
- Referralto other child protection services or youth/ adult supporting services;
- Training and expertise to all child protection, law enforcement and justice professionals on the facts and issues related to sexual violence;
- Education of the public on sexual violence, recognition of its consequences, and reporting;
- Statistical data on sexual violence against children and young people, trends, and issues related to the functioning of the system;
For more information, please contact:
Child and Youth Advocacy Centre in Albania
Tel: +355 4 2265741
Mobile: + 355 67 20 75 330