Reaction to the case of sexual abuse of eight year old girl
Concerning the case of above mentioned sexual abuse of a child, The First Children’s Embassy in the World-Megjashi demands most rigorous punishment for the abuser and for the parent of the abused girl (and her brother and sister) for the criminal act sexual abuse, trafficking with minors and for pimping for accomplishing financial gain.
This case might not have been discovered if the life of the girl had not been jeopardized. World records show that 70% of the cases of children’s sexual abuse are not reported due to fear and shame that children experience, reaction of the community as well as fear from the unexpected consequences they will face.
The records from SOS telephone line for children and youth 0800 1 22 22 indicate that sexual crimes against children are increasing. In 2007 13,5 % of all calls made to the SOS line were connected to the most severe forms of child abuse. Still, we consider real numbers of unreported child abuse to be much higher.
Child abuse (sexual, economic, physical as well as other forms of abuse) is a serious problem that requires great amount of attention, protection and action on all levels. That means synchronized and joint preventive action from all relevant factors that have insight in care and raising children, such as family, state institutions, civil organizations and media.
THE WELLBEING OF EVERY CHILD DEPENDS OF THE CARE AND COMITMENT OF THE WHOLE COMMUNITY, NOT ONLY ITS FAMILY
That is why we believe that:
-The authorities should raise the sanctions for the abusers; schools, social care centers, institutions that provide health care, citizens and children’s families should be proactive and report sexual crimes (and incourage their children to report) when there is even mild evidence that such abuse is present;
-Subtracting of parental rights in such cases is necesary. Children need not only biologycal parents, but responsible parents that will provide sufficient conditions for children’s growth and development;
-Social care centers should be more mobile and more effective in folowing the condition of aledged child abuse in high risk families by taking measures that will enable preventive actions. Thay can make the biggest difference in child abuse prevention because they are (or are suposed to be) in close contact with the families that are in crisis;
-In our opinion, putting children in Orphanage “11-th of October” is not the most suitable solution because children would not get adequate care, which is needed when dealing with this kind of abuse. Instead, we sugest that children be placed in foster familly or in the SOS Childrens village. In addition, children need medical attention from a team of specialist that incudes a psychiatrist to help them resocialize and overcome the consequences of the abuse. When there is child abuse, social institutions, counceling services and the families are obliged to provide resocialization, reintegration and rehabilitation of the children in a sense to help them overcome the consequences in an easier and qicker manner.
-In cases like this, there is an obligation also for the media- they are suposed to respect the identity and the integrity of the child which means not publishig personal information (child’s name, parents’ names, addres, personal information about the case, one or more specific information about his physical, mental, economic, cultural od social identity), according to the law for Protection of personal information (Official gazete.no. 7/05). We remind you of Article 3 from the Convention for children’s rights:
1. In all activities that concern children, the interest of the child are primiary, no matter if they are beeng inforsed by the public or the private institutions for social protection, the courts, the administrative organs or the legislative bodies.
The basic guide and the principles of the International federation of journalists for reporting issues that involve children are:
1. Carefully consider the concequenses of publishing any kind of material which involves children and by doing so, minimaze the damage for the children
2. Be carefull not to use visual or any other identification of the children, unless it is of public interest
3. To ensure independent verification of the information that the children gave and esspecialy to ensure that the verification would not jeopardize the children informers
4. Media should not take in consideration and report of childrens’ condition only as a senzation, they should continiously report of the proces that might lead or leads to events like this one.
It is in children’s best interest to pay attention of this kind of details that migh have negative effect at the children that we strive to protect.
MA Dragi Zmijanac
Executive Director and Founder