Children with disabilities are 3.5 times more vulnerable to sexual abuse*
The National Network for Children (NNC) supports the call by the parents of the child victim of sexual abuse at the 4th special school in Sofia.
We demand immediate and coordinated action by institutions to examine the referral and take action on the case. We insist on answers to the questions of the institutions under the existing legislation in the country:
- Is the coordination mechanism for working in the specified time in operation?
- Does the Department for Child Protection make an assessment of referrals within 24 hours of their submission?
- Is a multidisciplinary team on the case formed within 24 hours of receiving the referral to support the assessment of the referral?
- Does the multidisciplinary team include representatives of service providers and professionals with expertise and experience that can support the implementation of the action plan and support the child and family?
- Is the State Agency for Child Protection informed of the need for crisis intervention and is psychological support for the child and family provided?
- Has the necessary action been undertaken by the management of the 4th special school in Sofia to clarify the circumstances of the case and protect other students?
On October 8 2014, the NNC will submit an opinion (in Bulgarian) on the case to the Prosecutor General’s office, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria and the responsible institutions.
This case shows that all agencies working with children urgently need to establish procedures for all those working directly with them to ensure mechanisms for the selection of personnel, training and supervision in order to prevent sexual abuse. Such a mechanism in Bulgaria has not yet been introduced in schools, kindergartens, the police and courts.
The National Network for Children, together with its members, is ready to provide assistance for immediate and adequate support for the child and his family.
* Research by Sullivan and Knutson, 2000
* Under the provisions of Annex 1 to the Coordination Mechanism for Interaction at Work in Cases of Children who are Victims or at Risk of Abuse and Interaction in Crisis Intervention, the authority recieving the referral (be they the Department for Child Protection “Social Assistance”, the State Agency for Child Protection or the Ministery of the Interior) is required to notify the others immediately within 1 hour of registration of the referral, including by telephone and fax.
Translator: Morgan James, volunteer
Photo: freeimages.com/The Swedish