Ending violence against children

UNICEF in Albania leads on advancing solutions, legislation, and cooperation for long-term and immediate interventions to achieve a significant decline in violence against girls and boys

Press releases - child rights
© UNICEF/UN041329/Giacomo Pirozzi

The challenge

The economic hardship that many Albanian families are still facing – since Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe – correlates with high levels of stress in families, with children often becoming the easy target for the adults’ frustration. Furthermore, decline of dedicated parental education in the country, and the attitude of “keeping family business within the family” adds to the complexity of domestic violence. This adds to that a lack of awareness of what constitutes violence against children and where to report it. Hence, no surprise that:

  • National surveys reveal widespread domestic violence, reported by 58 percent of children (aged 10-14)
  • In 2015, Albanian police registered 1,167 offences against children (0-18), representing 5 percent of the total number of violent crimes
  • A 2017 study on “Ethics in the Albanian Education System” revealed that 83% of schoolchildren report the display of unethical behaviour by school staff, including: insults, sarcastic language, derogatory nicknames, etc.
  • The study reveals that emotional and physical violence is still used by parents as well.
  • Bullying, password theft, and pornography viewings occur to 45 percent of children every day. Only 44 percent of children receive information about online safety from parents or from various channels to report online incidents.

The solution

UNICEF Albania implemented an innovative Communication for Behavioural Impact (COMBI) programme in 1,300 public schools across the country in 2015-2016, targeting teachers’ and parents’ knowledge, attitudes and practices towards violent disciplining of children. This significant undertaking yielded some promising results. For example, a comparison of in-school violence conducted during the COMBI programme implementation showed a decrease in reported threats by teachers from 22 to 14 percent and the practice of name-calling decreased from 16 to 10 percent.

iamsafeonline

UNICEF works in close partnership with local Civil Society Organizations and provides Child Protection Units and multi-disciplinary teams in eight Municipal Units with on-the-job mentoring, online professional support and targeted technical workshops. These efforts resulted in addressing 86 new cases of Violence Against Children (VAC) and providing emergency services to 201 children at high risk.

UNICEF also continued its cooperation with the “House of Colours” – a multi-functional day care and emergency centre in Tirana, offering 24/7 support and emergency response services to children survivors of violence.

As a result:

  • 462 children in vulnerable situations could access legal support, counselling, recreation, education and basic hygiene and health services
  • 157 children survivors of violence and abuse were provided emergency and long-term support by the “House of Colours” staff and specialists

To further children’s safety online, UNICEF Albania, collaborating with the Government and businesses, as well as children and their care givers, is engaged in a multi-year program, #iamsafeonline, to intensify efforts to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation online in Albania.