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Interdisciplinary approach to dealing with cases of abuse over children

In the period 10-14 November, in Sofia, Bulgaria, there was a Conference on the topic –The child as a witness in the criminal procedure –multidisciplinary approach. This conference is one of the activities within the framework of the Regional program – Childhood without violence – to a better child protection system in East Europe. This five-year program (2005-2009) deals a different issue each year, and for 2008 the project is called – Interdisciplinary help to children victims of violence. 

The goal of the Conference was raising awareness of the need for special protection of the children who participate in legal and criminal procedures, as well as the multidisciplinary approaches that should be undertaken by various institutions when it comes to interviewing or approaching a child who is a witness or a victim.

Kevin Brown from England, Maria Keller Hamela form Poland and Radka Stojanova from Bulgaria were lecturers in the official part.

The First Children’s Embassy in the World – “Megjashi”, Republic of Macedonia, presented an interview of a child victim of sexual abuse, as well as a legal regulative regarding such types of interviews. The presenter was Vasilka Bozinovska, a judge for juvenile justice, and as she was giving her speech an original video of that procedure was running in the background. Afterwards, Katerina Konevska, a volunteer manager of Megjashi’s free legal service, addressing the audience in English and using a PowerPoint presentation, presented the Macedonian Juvenile Justice Law which has been adapted to follow the EU model.

Four representatives from the First Children’s Embassy in the World – “Megjashi” attended the Conference.

On the last day, the Safety for Children project, carried out in Bulgaria by the Center for Integrative Education, was presented; then a workshop followed which dealt with the meaning of the term – resilience - which is accepted in Bulgarian practice when it comes to describing states when the victim of violence, after being subjected to trauma, goes back to living a normal life.

The conference was concluded by summarizing the workshop presentations which included analysis of various cases of children as potential and/or direct witnesses and/or victims of abuse and neglect.