Batumi, Georgia, 28 February, 2017. The Child Protection Referral Procedures, with the UNICEF support and financial assistance of the European Union, will be introduced to Adjara as well.
The Child Protection Referral Procedures were approved on 12 September 2016 by the Order of the Government of Georgia, which holds the local self-governance bodies, along with the ministries and other state agencies, also responsible for the referral procedures on violence against children. In particular, the referral mechanism already applies to all state bodies, offices of resource officers, public and private educational institutions, medical and children’s specialized institutions, and municipalities.
UNICEF has been assisting the Government of Georgia in strengthening and expanding this mechanism. In collaboration with the Adjarian Government and with support of the Georgian Association of Social Workers and Anti-violence Network of Georgia the Child Referral Procedures will be launched in Adjara.
Within the project identified persons will be trained on their responsibilities under the child protection procedures and respective work processes and instruments will be developed.
At the national level the Child Protection Referral Procedures have been in place since 2010. They aim to support protection of children from all forms of violence within and outside the family setting through establishment of a coordinated and efficient referral procedures’ system. The mechanism holds all professionals working with children responsible for identifying any forms of violence against children and providing adequate response.
All institutions and state bodies that deal with children or/and their families as well as the setting where a child is, are responsible for reporting to the Social Service Agency in case they suspect violence against a child, and for managing the case in compliance with the Order. Furthermore, they should develop respective internal instructions. The Social Service Agency ensures identifying and managing the cases of violence, provides consultancy to respective persons and obtains/assists in obtaining birth registration or IDs for children, including temporary IDs. In case of emergency, the agency ensures separation of the child from the family, as a measure of last resort, or makes decision to separate the child from the perpetrator.
According to the UNICEF studies, the professionals involved in the child referral procedures are not fully aware of their responsibilities, e.g., 46 per cent of all school professionals (teachers and school resource officers) stated that the violence would have to be severe and repetitive in order for it to be reported. Moreover, 60 per cent child protection professionals (teachers, resource officers and social workers) think that a family’s internal affairs are its own business, and should not be interfered with by others.
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.