Child Advocacy and Support Centres (CaCs)
Violence against children is not an isolated phenomenon, it happens everywhere - in every country, society and social group. Every five minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies as a result of violence. The results from a national study on violence against children commissioned by UNICEF show that 47 percent of children in Bulgaria, or one in two children, have experienced some form of violence before the age of 18.
At a national level there is a shortage in the provision of specialized services for the prevention and response of violence against children, in particular, services which further support children and their parents in recovering from trauma and violence, or protect them from further violence and abuse.
Therefore, in 2015, UNICEF in partnership with the government of Bulgaria, the municipalities of Sofia, Shumen and Montana, BTV and in partnership with the Institute for Social Activities and Practices (SAPI) and “Animus Association” Foundation, developed and piloted the model of the Child Advocacy and Support Centres (CaCs) “Zona ZaKrila”.
What is “Zona ZaKrila”?
The model is an innovative type of service in Bulgaria, created with the support of UNICEF in partnership with the government, the Municipality of Sofia, Shumen and Montana and the Institute for Social Activities and Practices (SAPI) and the Animus Association Foundation.
What are the services of "Zona ZaKrila"?
The main services provided to children and parents include:
• Psychosocial support and therapy to overcome the trauma and consequences of violence;
• Access to health care and assistance for medical certification;
• Legal aid;
• Child-friendly hearings in a specialized “blue room” space to protect the rights and best interest of the child and avoid further trauma for the child during the investigation process, while at the same time ensuring the collection of comprehensive and accurate information for the given case;
• Crisis intervention in case of emergency.
“Zona ZaKrila” provides safe space where children and parents can receive comprehensive and free support in one place from competent and well-trained psychologists, social workers and lawyers. The teams work in cooperation with the child protection departments, education system, police, prosecution and justice system, while facilitating the efforts of all institutions in the best interest of the child.
The team is available 24/7 to respond to all types of violence. As part of its prevention work “Zona ZaKrila” work with different communities, kindergartens and schools to raise awareness about the different types of violence, its consequences and how it can be effectively prevented.
The mission of CaCs "Zona ZaKrila" is for children who have experienced violence to come out empowered without having to carry the severe consequences of the trauma, or to feel threatened by new aggression or violence.
The assistance provided by CaCs “Zona ZaKrila” is aimed at both children who have experienced violence and those who are perpetrators of violence who can work on different models that deal effectively with anger and aggression. Support is also provided to parents who have been abused, as well as to the whole family, in order for them to overcome the trauma of violence and together to be able to move forward.
Since the start of its services until the end of 2020, CaCs “Zona ZaKrila” have provided support to more than 2,500 children and their parents.
In 2019, an external independent evaluation of the model and services was conducted. Key findings of the evaluation reveal the model in line with the national priorities of the Bulgarian government and relevant to addressing the needs of children and families In Bulgaria.
According to the evaluation, 100 percent of children say that CaCs “Zona ZaKrila” have helped them feel better and overcome the trauma from the experienced violence, while 86 percent of parents find that the centres have made it easier for their child to get help and practical support.
For more information on the results of the evaluation, please see the full text of the report.
"Zona ZaKrila" Shumen
10 Dimitar Blagoev Str
Phone: 054 833 124
24-hour mobile phone: 089 336 11 04
"Zona ZaKrila" Montana
12 Ivan Avramov Street
Phone: 096 300 134
24-hour mobile phone: 089 701 13 47
"Zona ZaKrila" Sofia
Ekzarh Yosif Street №85
Phone: 02 983 53 05/02 983 54 03/02 983 52 05
24-hour mobile phone: 087 669 22 80