Experts from National Network for Children and its Legal Aid Network were invited by the State Agency for Child Protection to become part of the interdepartmental working group “Prevention of Violence and Child Abuse” at the National Council for Child Protection. The main goal of the working group is to develop a new National Program for Prevention of Violence and Abuse of Children, as well as the subsequent monitoring of the implementation of the program.
The first meeting of the interdepartmental group was held on February 10. Plamena Nikolova and Georgi Elenkov took part on behalf of the NNC and the Legal Aid Network.
“We aim not just to compile another document – written, uploaded on a platform and forgotten. We aim to gather all our will and expertise, to invest work and feelings to create together something practically useful and working for the benefit of the whole society”, said at the opening of the meeting the chairman of the SACP, Dr. Eleonora Lilova. “The participation of National Network for Children in this process is very important,” said Dr. Lilova.
Ms. Kamelia Nikolova, Chair of the Working Group, explained that the goal, set by the SACP, is to sign the national program in the short term, with an indicative two-month deadline.
The participants in the working group, including both NNC experts, agreed that the strategic document set out in the prepared document should be in line with the goals set by the Bulgarian state for sustainable development by the National Development Program and the EU Strategy for the Rights of the Child; to address the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic crisis; to focus on practical measures for the prevention and protection of cybercrime and harassment on the Internet.
Some of the priority topics , highlighted by the NNC experts, included:
- extensive use of strategies and methods from the INSPIRE: Seven Strategies to End Violence Against Children, developed by the WHO and UNICEF;
- creation of adequate tools for unified data collection on violence against children, children at risk, etc .;
- inclusion in the new national program of decisions that address the needs of children with mental suffering or children living with such persons, migrant children, etc. vulnerable groups;
- ensuring the meaningful transposition of the directive establishing minimum standards on the rights of victims of crime;
- more effective multidisciplinary addressing of parental conflicts involving children; support for programs such as the Key to a School Without Fear of the Animus Association, a member of the NNC;
- building a culture of intolerance of online violence among the general public.
We will continue to inform you about the work of the NNC and the Legal Aid Network in the interdepartmental expert group and about the content of the new National Program for Prevention of Violence and Child Abuse.