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Government deaf for the SOS helpline of First Children's Embassy in the World MegjashiJournalist Igor Segavic, Newspaper DNEVNIK, 15.02.2011, 10:26

Relevant institutions rarely use the Convention for the Rights of the Child or don’t use it at all explaining that they can not apply it directly.
According to the Annual report for the SOS helpline for children and youths and the free legal service at First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi, children continue to remain silent and suffer violence, while most of the cases are related to violating of the children’s rights in divorce processes. From the Embassy say that the SOS helpline for children and youths 0800 1 2222 as a service of public interest for direct help and support of the children and their parents is not financially supported by the government yet, although it is one of the recommendations of the United Nations Committee for the Rights of the Child.

Children suffer, adults call

According to Megjashi, in 2010 on the SOS helpline 239 cases of various violations of rights have been registered, while continued the trend of calling by adults who seek for advices, information or to express concern if they were witnesses of children’s rights violation.

“From all of the reported cases 87% were reported by adults, while only near 8% were reported by children. That shows that youngsters are still afraid to speak openly about the violation of their rights, what on the other hand it means low trust in institutions that should help them. Fear, uncertainty, low confidence, lack of trust in institutional protection and the lack of information about the services that could help and support them are the main reasons why the children remain silent, suffer the violence and rarely speak about it,” say from Megjashi.

In some cases citizens have come directly in the premises of the SOS service of the Children’s embassy or via e-mail.

From Megjashi say that most of the cases are related to violating of the rights in divorce processes, therefore 46 cases have been reported. The most common are cases of custody of the children without being considered opinion of the child – with who of the parents he wants to live, problems related to realizing of the right of seeing between parents and children, right of alimentation, but also calls related to the psychological conditions of the children during the divorce processes and disrupted communication between their parents.

Cases of family violence – 43 are next on the list of reported cases of children’s rights violation. In this category 25 cases were about physical, seven about psychological and eleven cases were about neglecting the children by their parents.

“The cases of physical and psychological violence are consequence of addiction and abuse of alcohol and narcotics by the offender. Most common victims are children from seven to thirteen years old, who live in urban areas, or at least they report the violence more than those from rural areas, who lack information where to seek for help when they are victims of violence made by parents.

Free legal service

Statistics show that the violence at schools keeps growing, so in 2010 total of 19 cases which have been reported on the helpline were about physical and psychological violence on relation teacher – student or student – student. Seven reports were related to psychological violence from teachers to students, while four were related to physical violence between teacher and student, and student and student respectively. It is interesting that three out of four cases of physical violence teacher – student happened in rural areas.

Last year in Megjashi 13 cases of sexual abuse and pedophilia were reported, displaying photos of children and youths in sexual context on internet among others.

SOS helpline is service for help and support of children, youths and their parents and enables them with only one phone call to get information, advice, and psychosocial help or simply to talk about the problems they are facing.

 “Our operators don’t offer ready-to-use solutions for the problems; they offer alternatives for its solving in order to let the caller find a solution by himself. Experts work on the helpline – social worker, pedagogue, psychologist and a lawyer, but in activities our volunteers also take participation, which are psychology, pedagogy, social work, law graduates. Parallel with the helpline there is a free legal service which acts with written requests to various state and social institutions. In 2010 the legal service has sent 105 written requests seeking for protection of children’s rights and interests. From the relevant institutions we ask for information about the measures and activities taken by their side, in order to be able to follow the cases and react again if necessary. Practice shows that relevant institutions rarely use the Convention for the Rights of the Child or don’t use it at all explaining that they can not apply it directly, although in a case of collision the international conventions are superior related to domestic laws,” say from the Embassy.