Tirana, 23 October 2019 - This morning CRCA/ECPAT Albania officially launched the Albanian Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (ACA) as an environment that brings together social care, counselling and legal protection for children and adolescents who have survived sexual violence.
"Today we are achieving a new milestone towards new services that protect children and young people from sexual violence - said Altin Hazizaj, Executive Director of CRCA/ECPAT Albania - The opening of the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is just the beginning of a comprehensive transformation of the system and the construction of a new model of care for every victim of sexual abuse in Albania.”
According to the largest study on violence against children in Europe (BECAN), 11% of children in Albania are victims of violence and sexual harassment, while INSTAT National Survey "Violence against Women and Girls in Albania" reported that about 15% of girls between the ages of 18-24 are currently experiencing some form of sexual violence. The Economist Intelligence UNIT, “Out of Shadows” Global Index, in its analysis of over 40 countries around the world, gave Albania a negative review due to the lack of child protection mechanisms against sexual exploitation and violence.
To date, there are no centres in Albania that provide multi-disciplinary and integrated services for children and youth, victims of sexual violence. Studies and experience in many countries have shown that when children and adolescents - victims of sexual violence, are interviewed several times and by different institutions, they re-experience their trauma that causes serious consequences to their mental and physical health.
Part of the Albanian National Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (ACA) work is to inform, raise awareness, advise, support, refer and report any case of child and youth violence. The services will be provided also in coordination with Free Legal Aid Office for Vulnerable Children and Youth in Albania (FLA), ALO 116-111: Albanian National Child Helpline, and the National Platform for Safer Internet, in close cooperation with the Child Protection Services, social services, Education, Health, Police and the Justice system.
ACA also will support with trainings, exchanges and mentoring all the professionals of child protection, law enforcement and justice, while build education programmes of the public on sexual violence, recognizing its consequences and where to report.
Albanian National Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (ACA) is part of the initiative "Protect Children and Youth from Sexual Violence in Albania". The CRCA for 23 years has established some of the most indispensable child and youth protection services, and since 2011 has been licensed to provide specialized services at community and national level.
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