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Protection of children from abuse and neglect in the health system

Within the European Union and UNICEF joint project on the "The Protection of Children from Violence in South East Europe” worth €1.65 million, a new publication has been released in Serbia to help the public health services implement the Special Health Service Protocol for the protection of children from abuse and neglect.

The “Handbook for the Application of a Special Health Service Protocol for the protection of children from abuse and neglect”, developed by the Ministry of Health  Special working group and guided by the Institute for Mental Health from Belgrade, provides a theoretical and practical framework for advancing the clinical practice of the health service in the domain of protecting children from all forms of abuse. In its theoretical part, the Handbook precisely defines the manifestation of forms of abuse and neglect, the consequences for the development of the child and the risk factors. It provides reliable guidelines for recognising abuse and neglect in daily work with children and their parents or guardians, and should thereby help to increase the sensibility and competence of health workers and their associates. A particularly valuable aspect of the Handbook is the guidelines for direct work in cases where there exists suspicion of abuse and neglect. Work in this field, which represents a very sensitive area both for children and for their parents or guardians, as well as for professionals, should be significantly more fruitful, because the Handbook provides recommendations on how to talk to children about experiences which are unpleasant for them, and also how, through discussions with parents, to initiate positive changes in their behaviour towards the child.

About the project

“The Protection of Children from Violence in South East Europe” is a two-year project funded by the European Union implemented in Albania, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The aim of the project is to strengthen the services which should identify and monitor violence against children and fight it through reinforced partnership of civil society and decision makers at the state level.

In Serbia, the project will help build professional and institutional capacities of the civil society coalitions for holding the government accountable for violations of child rights. Within the health system, through the project implemented by the Institute for Mental Health in Belgrade during the year 2011, four  regional expert teams of trainers (34 people) were established in the cities of Belgrade, Nis, Novi Sad and Kragujevac. The temas   educated 24 primary and secondary level health institutions – a  total of 133 health professionals - in applying the health care system Protocol for the protection of children from abuse and neglect”

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