Kapan Child and Family Support and Barnahus Centers strengthen protection services for children in Syunik
UNICEF, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and other partners mark the reopening of Kapan child and family support center and the launch of Kapan Barnahus
KAPAN – UNICEF marked the opening of Armenia’s second Barnahus safe corner, located in Kapan, established in partnership with Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and with the financial support of the European Union. As the first child-friendly safe space in Syunik marz, Barnahus will provide multidisciplinary and multi-agency protection for child victims of violence and child-friendly justice approaches, where children can be interviewed and examined for forensic purposes, comprehensively assessed and receive crisis intervention services from appropriate professionals.
Just like the Barnahus safe corner in Yerevan, the Kapan center is also modeled following and adapting the international “Barnahus” approach to child friendly justice that unites under one roof law enforcement, criminal justice, child protection services and medical and mental health workers to cooperate and assess together the situation of the child.
“We are full of hope that this multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral approach will improve conditions to provide child victims or witnesses of violence with better protection, in line with best interests of the child. In this process, and in the area of child protection in general, we have close and everyday collaboration between the Armenian Government and partner institutions, as all our efforts are directed towards the objective of every child having every right,” stated Mr Narek Mkrtchyan, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs.
“The Barnahus approach has been shown to avoid secondary victimization of victims and increase the effectiveness of the justice process by taking measures to protect the privacy, identity and image of child victims and helping them to recover rebuild. The safe corners in Yerevan and Kapan were made possible thanks to the strong commitment and leadership from the Investigative Committee, Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs, Justice, and Health, as well as the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Armenia,” noted Mrs Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia.
In the last few years, UNICEF supported amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code which require children to be interviewed only with the support of certified forensic interviewer psychologists and the development of secondary legislation. In addition, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Justice in the development of training modules and subsequent training and certification of 53 psychologists.
In addition, UNICEF and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs marked the reopening of Kapan Child and family support center that also serves as a crisis center for vulnerable children and families in Syunik marz. From February to June, with the support of the United States Government and in partnership with World Vision, UNICEF renovated the Center and provided with special equipment for children with disabilities. In addition, World Vision refurbished the Center.
World Vision Country Program Director Raffi Doudaklian thanked UNICEF for the cooperation. “The support provided through the implementation of this project is not only about renovation, but it is meant to change children’s lives towards a better future. What is important is the work that needs to be done within these renovated walls and outside of this building. It is the work with the children that will make a difference, and I am confident the results of these efforts will be very beneficial for their future,” said Mr. Doudaklian.
Kapan child and family support center serves 91 children in Syunik and provides care and residential services to 10 children and adolescents. With the newly renovated and refurbished premises the Center will be able to provide daycare services to 100 and crisis shelter to 40 children.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.