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SOS parent line launched in Montenegro

PODGORICA, 6 February 2017 – National SOS parent line was launched in Montenegro, making it possible for all parents and caregivers throughout the country to get advice on successful child upbringing.

The SOS parent line is free of charge - Representatives of Montenegrin mobile operators signing the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services - UNICEF Montenegro/Dusko Miljanic/2016

By calling 080 888 888 every working day from 16.00 to 20.00, parents will be able to consult experts regarding their children's upbringing, with the aim to foster better development of the child. Montenegrin mobile operators made all the calls to the SOS line free of charge, and took the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services at United Nations premises in Podgorica.

Kristina Mihailović, executive Director of the NGO "Parents”, which established this parental service together with UNICEF and the Delegation of the European Union to Montenegro, said that the SOS calls would be confidential. "When they call SOS Parent line, all parents and caregivers will have a chance to talk with counselors who were trained for this kind of consultation by regional experts who shared their knowledge and extensive consulting experience," said Mihailović, stressing that the work of counselors will be overseen by a psychotherapist in coordination with a social worker.

The SOS line could be beneficial to families going through crisis situations - Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Representative to Montenegro - UNICEF Montenegro/Dusko Miljanic/2016

The need for this kind of parental support service has been evident from the results of a research conducted by UNICEF in 2013, which showed that every third child in Montenegro under the age of 14 had been exposed to physical punishment.

UNICEF Representative to Montenegro, Benjamin Perks said that SOS line could be beneficial to all families, especially those going through crisis situations or facing problems that remain taboo in this society. "These situations include postnatal depression, family members who are addicts or have certain mental health problems, or simply parents who are recovering from a childhood in which they have not experienced the feeling of love which is case more often than we think it is," claims Perks, adding that SOS lines around the world proved to be effective support to parents.

The head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro Aivo Orav expects that the SOS parent line will help to prevent violence against children - UNICEF Montenegro/Dusko Miljanic/2016

Minister of Labour and Social Welfare of Montenegro, Kemal Purišić, is aware that relations within a typical Montenegrin family remain patriarchal in their nature, and that there is a certain degree of tolerance towards violence. "The tolerance towards violence can be seen from the fact that the physical punishment of children is one of the common ways of raising children," warned Purišić.

Together with the recent amendments to the Family Law which prohibits physical punishment of children, SOS line for parents should be an important measure of prevention of violence against children, believes the head of the EU Delegation to Montenegro Aivo Orav. "Discipline must never be an excuse for violence against children. We must join forces to prevent violence against children and effectively respond to all violations of children's rights", said Orav, adding that the physical punishment of children is banned by law in 21 member states of the European Union.

In addition to the SOS line, parents may learn about positive examples of parenting from the website



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