The deputy minister of Education and Science, Vanya Kastreva, met representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the programme director of Prevention of Violence against Children at UNICEF Bulgaria and the Agency for Social Assistance (ASA) on October 17, 2014 to discuss the continuation of the initiative for the undertaking of joint action and active measures to prevent violence against children and students.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibilities of how the institutions involved in ‘the coordination mechanism for interaction at work in cases of children who are victims, or at risk of violence, and interaction in crisis intervention’, can collaborate to produce a document based on their experience and findings, which includes measures to prevent violence against children in educational institutions.
Deputy Minister Kastreva briefly presented the Ministry of Education and Science’s initiative for the creation of an interagency working group, with the participation of the civil sector, to develop a mechanism for risk prevention in the educational environment to improve care for children in schools. “It is very important to sensitise fellow head-teachers and teachers to such cases in order to be able to recognise violence and react in time and not to neglect the problem,” stressed Ms. Kastreva, saying further that the case at special school no.4 has provoked a need to take urgent measures in the field of children’s rights and the prevention of violence in schools.
The representatives of the Interior Ministry, UNICEF and the ASA shared their experiences and opportunities, and at the end of the meeting they united in their intentions, first, to conduct workshops at regional level between the institutions involved in the implementation of the coordination mechanism.
Secondly, it was suggested by the regional inspectorates of education that training in the mechanism is undertaken by all directors of schools, kindergartens and servicing units in the education system, together with representatives of the various institutions. At these meetings, a concrete plan for training of people working in educational institutions, how to recognise violence and situations of children at risk and how to respond to such situations is to be drawn up.
The third proposal was the establishment of an interagency working group to develop a mechanism for risk prevention in the educational environment, as well as specific rules and instructions.
Also attending the meeting was Ms. Greta Gancheva, director of “Access to education and support for development” at the Ministry of Education and Science.
Translator: Morgan James, volunteer
Photo: freeimages.com/Ambroz film