“National Unified Register of Child Abuse” Project was Launched
In Bulgaria, no institution knows how many children have actually suffered from violence. Even when it comes to the worst possible form of violence against children – intentional murder, the data of the institutions diverge dramatically – according to the NSI for 2020, they are 2, according to the Ministry of the Interior – 11, according to the Prosecutor’s Office – 32.
This confusion is present when we talk about all forms of child abuse. In 2021, 1,649 children suffered from crimes. The National Children’s Hotline 116 111 received 738 reports of violence. The “Child Protection” departments received 1,387 reports. At the same time, every third child in Bulgaria says that they have been a victim of some form of violence. What is actually happening?
In Bulgaria, there are no uniform data on cases of violence against children (including harassment, exploitation and neglect). They are collected by different institutions and according to different criteria. This blocks the opportunities for a full analysis of the situation and development of adequate policies for prevention and protection.
We can’t fight child abuse if we don’t even know what actually happens to abused children.
The “National Unified Register of Child Abuse” project aims to support and improve the collection of data regarding child abuse in Bulgaria. The National Network for Children, the State Child Protection Agency and the Institute of Mediation and Dispute Management as partners behind the implementation of the project will work over the next two years to analyze the legal framework, trends in child abuse, the used now indicators from the institutions and international good practices in order to propose guidelines that will serve as a basis for the construction of a National Information System on violence against children in Bulgaria.
The project will also support the implementation of the National Program for the Prevention of Violence and Child Abuse (2022-2024). Building a unified information system will allow institutions to have a unified view of violence against children and to better coordinate their joint activities to prevent cases of violence or to respond to a child who has suffered violence.
National Network for Children has been advocating for years the creation of a unified register of cases of violence and a comprehensive zero-tolerance policy for violence against children.
The network, as the coordinator of the Childhood without Violence Association, has collected dozens of examples of how violence against children can be prevented and how children who are victims of violence can be supported. See here: www.endviolence.bg