THE PROBLEM OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
CAN is associated with unhealthy behavior in children and adolescents as well as many psychological and psychosocial direct or late-onset implications. Particularly due to the well established “circlers of violence” phenomenon, domestic violence tent to reproduce itself. Preventive cutting off of that circle contributes substantially and more effectively in the disappearance of such unhealthy behavior in both children and adults.
Issues concerning child abuse and neglect transcend national borders, affecting developing as well as developed countries. Nevertheless, data and existing legislation concerning violence against children are often alarmingly weak, mainly because of the inconsistencies of classification of child maltreatment and lack of common research methodologies that could produce valid and internationally comparable data. In Balkan area, in particular, there are no robust data available for the real magnitude of CAN in general population.
BECAN is going to provide the basis for the harmonization of CAN screening procedures in the Balkan area and therefore its implementation will produce valid, credible and comparable data. However, BECAN’s contribution is expected to be much wider, since it will help a permanent and unified system to be established not only concerning mapping and screening mechanisms for CAN incidence but also concerning monitoring of reported and/or detected cases of CAN. Avoidance of discrepant diagnostic and screening processes and establishment of common methodologies in collecting data will enable planning of appropriate preventive and intervention strategies, evaluation of initiations undertaken as well as updating of practices and policies.
NATIONAL NETWORKS FOR PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
The development of National Networks of Organizations, professionals and experts for the prevention of CAN is a step of strategic importance towards the implementation of the project’s objectives. The communication cells that will be developed in each of the participating countries are going to build national working teams that will contribute mainly to the dissemination of information produced as BECAN research evolves and also to the collection of recorded cases of CAN. Both constitute actions in which we invite you to take part, according to your Organization’s declared objectives and the actions in which you are already engaged.
Participating in the National Network for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect is going to be an interactive process, which is expected to benefit each participant in terms of partnership development, achievement in organization’s objectives, sharing expertise on issues of prevention of CAN as well as access to a wide range of relevant information. Based on the upcoming research results participants will be able to adjust their targets, update their initiatives, enrich and improve their activities towards promoting mental health and wellbeing of children.
In more specific terms the benefits of organizations participating in the National network could be described as follows:
- Access to information and updates concerning CAN in Albania as well as other countries of the Balkan in Albanian
- Access to specific tools for the recording and therefore the monitoring of CAN
- Accessibility to experts and professionals working on child welfare and CAN prevention via BECAN website and portal (www.becan.eu)
- Participation in the preparation of scientific papers
- Participation in the CAN Conference that will be held in Albania.
‘PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM VIOLENCE IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE’
Children undergo violence in all walks of life. They continuously urge for exceptional protection, from the ‘private’ sphere like home, to the ‘public’ sphere such as schools, detention institutions, etc. According to the recent international reports, Albania continues to be a country where exploitation, abuse and neglect of children have long been and still persist in being a torment for the society.
A common initiative of the European Union and UNICEF under the name of ‘Protection of children from violence in South East Europe’ is being implemented in four different countries like Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey. Its main ambition is to bring close attention and to help overcome the odious phenomenon of violence against children. Its primary goal is to strengthen civil society partners in the independent monitoring of the implementation of CRC and violations of children’s rights, particularly to combat violence against children. Moreover, engage in a constructive policy dialogue with State decision-makers on how to improve identification, monitoring and responses to violence against children within the public social services.
This year CRCA and ALO 116 will implement two very important objectives related to the protection and prevention of violence against children in Albania. Firstly, facilitate CSO interaction with decision-makers at the policy level including the production of guidelines for parliamentarians and annual hearing sessions on child protection. Secondly, ensure a safe, well-publicized, confidential and accessible reporting mechanism, including the Albanian National Child Helpline.
The facilitation of the interaction with the CSO’s will be carried out with the establishment of an informal group of parliamentarians, called the Child Rights Parliamentarian Caucus. This Caucus will not only engage in an active dialogue with the parliament but at the same time use their role as a pro-active tool to change the way currently the Parliament focuses on dealing with children rights and more specifically with violence against children.
CRCA under the guidance of the Child Rights Parliamentarian Caucus will be engaged in the organization of hearing sessions. The aim of the hearing sessions will be to facilitate a process of accountability of the Government officials on violence against children. Legislative initiative will be supported by the Caucus for the review of legislation or the introduction of new laws related to the protection of children from violence, neglect or exploitation. During this year a guideline ‘What can parliamentarians do to protect children from violence’ will be published under the guidance of the CRP Caucus and the support of ALO 116.
Awareness Campaign in Schools will be organized across Albania to publicize to children and young people reporting mechanisms and more specifically the services offered by the Albanian National Child Helpline. In order to ensure a safe, well-publicized, confidential and accessible reporting mechanism this campaign will be accomplished in cooperation with the Ombudsman’s Office, Police and Educational authorities.