|© UNICEF video|
|UNICEF is helping to protect children like fifteen-year-old Corina Stamate from violence and abuse.|
By Dan Thomas
CHISINAU, Moldova, 28 June 2005 – UNICEF-supported efforts to reform Moldova’s approach to child protection are part of a global drive to protect young victims of abuse. The issue will be highlighted at the Consultation on Violence against Children in Europe and Central Asia, set to take place in Slovenia in early July.
UNICEF plays a key role in Moldova by creating multi-disciplinary teams which identify and prevent cases of abuse, violence and neglect against children, with the aim of introducing new laws and improving old ones.
For example, when fifteen-year-old Corina Stamate, a girl from Moldova, reported that her father was beating her mother and siblings to the police, they ignored her. Her father's brother was a police officer. When she wrote of the abuse to UNICEF, there was an immediate response.
Kirsten Di Martino, UNICEF Child Protection Officer, says: "UNICEF has a duty to intervene when we hear about cases of violence against children. We cannot just sit back and not react.”
|© UNICEF video|
|Children receive counseling at the UNICEF supported Child Abuse Prevention Center in Chisinau.|
"Please help us!" Corina’s letter said. "We don't want to die. The smallest noise makes us tremble!"
She told how her father broke her mother's arm and jaw, and smashed out her teeth. The children were frequently dragged by their hair through the house. "We are no longer human," she wrote.
UNICEF referred Corina and her family to the Child Abuse Prevention Center – a community-based service with a specialized team of psychologists, social workers and lawyers. The children were taken to a temporary shelter and offered psychological counseling; the mother was placed in a different shelter for abused women; and the mayor of a neighboring village helped set up the mother and children in a new house.
Later, during a follow-up visit from UNICEF, Corina said: "I'm different because I know how it is to live without love and without parents, and without a hug or without a kiss."
The Consultation on Violence against Children in Europe and Central Asia is one of nine consultations taking place worldwide. Together, the conferences will inform the United Nations Secretary General's Study on Violence Against Children, which is due out in 2006.
8 April 2005:
UNICEF correspondent Dan Thomas reports on UNICEF’s child protection work in Moldova ahead of the Consultation on Violence against Children in Europe and Central Asia, held in Slovenia this July.