PROVINCIAL PROTECTOR OF CITIZENS – Ombudsman noticed that in 2020, the number of cases of violence, abuse and neglect of children by adults increased, primarily parents and guardians of children, and especially sexual violence is more present among all forms of gross violations of children’s rights.
Of the total number, two thirds of the media articles that the ombudsman monitors, in 2019, referred to peer violence, while in the first half of 2020, 84 percent of the articles were related to violence against children by an adult. The period of isolation and distance school made domestic violence against children more visible – in the period from March 16 to May 6, 2020, 91 percent of media reporting cases say that the violence was committed by adults close or known to the child, while in the same period a year earlier, peer violence was as prevalent as adult-to-child violence.
This was noticed by the Provincial Protector of Citizens, as stated in the statement, by continuously gaining insight into the state of children’s rights, in order to monitor the application of international standards in this area, based on citizens’ addresses, research, media reports and other sources of information.
Based on preliminary data from the answers received from 1203 educators, and within the research by which the Ombudsman wants to gain a closer insight into the actions of educational, health, social protection and justice institutions in the prevention and protection of children from sexual violence, as well as information and attitudes of professionals from the above systems on this topic, education on the topic of sexual violence against children is needed by this group of professionals, and it is necessary to strengthen their competencies to recognize and adequately respond to the protection of children from sexual violence.
– Only about 16 percent of educators stated that they were trained in the field of protection of children from sexual abuse, and less than four percent of respondents stated that they believe that it is fully competent to recognize the signs of a potentially sexually abused child – the research showed. – Although the data of the first national study on the social problem of sexual abuse of children in Serbia, conducted in 2015 by the Incest Trauma Center – Belgrade, show that in every school class in Serbia there are four children who survived a certain type of sexual violence and four more children they know someone to whom it happened. The Council of Europe points out that one in five children has been sexually abused or exploited, and only 11 percent of respondents from the Ombudsman’s research have reported cases of child sexual abuse in their practice.
The Provincial Protector of Citizens – Ombudsman also collected data from the competent public prosecutor’s offices in Vojvodina on proceedings related to cases of crimes against sexual freedom, in which the victims are minors or children. According to the data of six higher public prosecutor’s offices, in the period from 2017 to 2020, a total of 175 reports of criminal offenses against sexual freedom were recorded. The largest number of these reports refers to cases in which the victims are minors, and a total of 93 juvenile victims.
Preliminary analysis of data collected primarily from educational institutions, educators and competent prosecutor’s offices, the Provincial Protector of Citizens – Ombudsman found that a very small number of cases of sexual abuse of children are detected and that it is certain that at this time we can not talk about good enough protect children from sexual violence, which confirms data from other research and practice that show that sexual violence is taboo and that victims are silent in 90 percent of cases and only a small number of cases of sexual abuse are reported to the competent institutions.
EUROPEAN CHILD PROTECTION DAY
The European Day for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse was established in 2015 and is celebrated every year on 18 November to raise public awareness of sexual violence against children and to promote the Lanzarote Convention. This date follows the celebration of two important international dates – November 19, World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse and November 20, International Children’s Day.
Follow us through iOS and android apps