Tirana, 29 January 2021 - BARNAHUS Albania and Child & Youth Policy Hub, with the support of CRCA / ECPAT Albania, presented today the Report "Analysis of the child protection system based on cases of child sexual abuse in Albania". This is the first time a report has been prepared and published in relation to this specific area, and the data are of particular importance to policymakers, authorities, experts and CSOs.
The analysis of the report is based on the study of 36 cases of violence and sexual exploitation against children, reported and treated by Barnahus Albania during a two-year period (2019-2020). The study, among others, analyses the child protection system, referral and handling of the cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation. The findings of the report should be an alarm bell especially for the public education, social protection, public order, justice institutions, as well as politicians, CSOs and lawmakers.
The major findings of the Report are:
- The largest number of sexual crimes against children are being committed by their peers. 32% of perpetrators of sexual abuse belong to the age group 14-24 years old;
- 41% of perpetrators have committed sexual violence in group of 4 or more people;
- The age-group 10-14 years old is mostly affected by sexual crimes counting for 44% of reported cases, followed by the age group of 15-18 old, which accounts for 36% of cases;
- 55% of children who survived sexual violence live in poverty while 42% of them live in inadequate housing;
- Southern Albania ranks first in terms of reporting cases of sexual violence against children representing 50% of all the reported cases, followed by Central Albania counting for 42% of cases, while the North of the country has reported only 8% of them;
- The National Police is ranked in the first place, for the coverage that this institution has provided to the services received by children who have survived sexual violence, followed by social and health services. The justice system continues to have serious shortcomings in child-friendly approach and care.
The Director of CRCA/ECPAT Albania, Altin Hazizaj, underlining the great impact that such data have in improving the child protection system and institutional response, stressed that: “The reality which sexually abused children face is often totally unacceptable! The Government is responsible not only for their education, but also for raising them in a safe and non-violent society! The data shows the opposite. Not only child protection system, but all systems in general, including society and the family, are unprepared to protect children from sexual violence and exploitation. However, it is never too late to declare war on sexual violence in all its aspects!"
Findings and recommendations of the 2-year Report "Analysis of the child protection system, based on cases of their sexual abuse in Albania", were made public in a consultative meeting, which saw the participation of representatives from various public institutions such as police, prosecution, child protection system, civil society organizations and international partners.
“Next two years are going to be very important in our fight against child sexual abuse – said Klaudio Pulaha, co-author of the report from Barnahus Albania – in terms of introducing and setting up new standards, policies, laws and safeguards for protection of children from sexual abuse. The report provides a good bases to start such a change.”
Child sexual abuse in Albania remains heavily an underreported crime. Studies show that 1 in 10 children is a victim of sexual abuse. The number of children who fall victim of sexual abuse and exploitation increases with the age of the child. Only two years ago Albania established the first ever service (Barnahus Albania) in support of children who have survive sexual violence.
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