Multi-agency cooperation critical for children victims of violence
SKOPJE 1 April 2014: Professionals working with children victims of abuse and neglect came together for a three day training to discuss a new model of multi-agency cooperation with the aim to better protect children from violence and abuse. This model will be piloted in three municipalities that are Skopje, Gostivar and Kavadarci.
The purpose of the model is to strengthen coordination and collaboration between the different sectors involved in the protection of children victims of violence. This means that social workers, judges and prosecutors, police officers, health experts and civil society activists should be working together when a boy or a girl has been victim of abuse, violence or neglect.
“Children victims of violence are among the most vulnerable children. Therefore it is critical to have in place a systematic and coordinated approach to preventing or responding to violence against children.” said Dr. Bertrand Desmoulins, UNICEF Representative. “Working together will not only increase the chances to prevent abuse and neglect and speed up healing of victims, but this will also minimize child exposure to additional trauma during investigation.”
Currently the obligation for a coordinated response of different sectors is not clearly stated in the laws. There are examples of good practices but they mainly rely on the good will of individuals and agencies.
The results of the pilot activities will help formulate the legal aspect of multi-agency cooperation in the new Law on combating domestic violence that is developed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and ensure scaling up of the model.
The training taking place the three upcoming days is based on the new protocol for treatment of children victims of abuse and neglect which was developed by the National Coordination Body on Prevention of Abuse and Neglect, led by the Ministry in Labour and Social Policy with UNICEF support.
The main focus of the training is on recognizing signs and symptoms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect; agency roles and responsibilities in criminal investigations; practicing child interview skills; practices for protecting a child from secondary abuse in the investigation, and expected changes in the existing procedures of the agencies.
Participants include police officers, representatives from centers for social work, schools, health institutions, the office of the Public Prosecutor, civil society sector and judges from the three pilot municipalities.
For more information, please contact: Irina Ivanovska (02) 3231-172, 072 236 722 or firstname.lastname@example.org