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A Solemn Celebration – 10th Anniversary of the Center

President Josipović: We are all proud of your work

You did so much good. First because of your warm heart, second, because you knew that only a scientific and professional approach and devoted engagement could bring results. We are all proud of your work and wish you a lot of success – said President dr Ivo Josipović in his speech to the guests at the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Child Protection Center of Zagreb, on Thursday, 7 February 2013 in the City Hall of Zagreb.

More than three hundred guests

President Josipović said it was a “conference on love, reason and care for children”, with more than three hundred guests including the President of Croatia, the Vice-president of Croatian Government and the Minister of Social Policy and Youth Milanka Opačić, the Vice-president of the Parliament of Croatia Nenad Stazić, the Minister of Health prof. dr Rajko Ostojić, the City Mayor Milan Bandić, the President of the City Assembly Davor Bernardić, the Member of the Parliament of Croatia Igor Dragovan, the Ombudsman for Children Mila Jelavić, the Ombudsman for Gender Equality Višnja Ljubičić, the Ambassador of the Netherlands Stella Ronner Grubačić, several representatives of the cooperating institutions and non-government organisations, the media and colleagues.

Director: “In these 10 years we have had 10,000 children in treatment”

Director of the Center, prof. dr sc. Gordana Buljan Flander, in her opening speech, summarised 10 years of the Center, thanking all involved parties for the cooperation and support which enabled the Center to help thousands of children and their families: – Center’s vision from the very beginning was founded in multidisciplinarity and cooperation with other Croatian and international experts and institutions involved in working with children. In these 10 years we have had more than 10,000 children. More than 2,500 of them have been children who witnessed domestic violence, which indicates the most widely spread problem in the protection of children in Croatia. Within the numbers of abused children, there have been 800 sexually abused, 800 physically abused and around 1,000 neglected children. Since we are the only institution of this type in Croatia, half of our children come from out of Zagreb regions. Children coming due to difficulties related to high-conflict parental divorce make 15% of all our children today, and the trend is on the increase. This makes the high-conflict parental divorce, after the suspected abuse and neglect, the second biggest reason for sending children to the Center – said Director.

President of the City Assembly Davor Bernardić: “Your work has direct effects on creating a sound and healthy society”

President of the City Assembly Davor Bernardić thanked all those who devoted their professional and private lives to helping the youngest victims of physical and emotional abuse. “Your work and the results achieved with the most vulnerable and the most important group are very important because they have direct effects on creating a sound and healthy society”, emphasized he.

Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić: “Zagreb’s model of the Child Protection Center has been recognized in Europe and in the United Nations”

Mayor of the City of Zagreb Milan Bandić, who supported the establishment of the Center ten years ago, congratulated the Director and the whole team of the Child Protection Center of Zagreb. The Mayor recalled the time when the Center had just started working in modest and undersized premises in the estate of Gajnice: “When in 2002 we started our development in the undersized premises in Argentinska street in Gajnice, through the Savica estate towards the city center, we overtook the center. You deserved it”. He emphasized that the work model of the Center would not have been so successful and recognised in Europe and the United Nations without the devoted and professional work of its employees. He wished the Center’s team to follow that path and said that the City would support them in the future.

“Zagreb’s model of the Child Protection Center has been recognized in Europe and in the United Nations. Please, take my warm congratulations and thanks to all of you, all volunteers, non-government organisations, the Brave phone. Regardless of the ample help from this City and the Government, without your enthusiasm, zeal and love, you would not have been so successful, and we would not have what to praise here”, said the Mayor Milan Bandić.

Minister of Health Rajko Ostojić: “There is no bigger stress for a child than abuse, therefore, thank you for doing what you are doing”

Minister of Health Rajko Ostojić expressed support for the Center’s work and mentioned the increasing problem of today – cyber bullying. He warned that studies showed that every second child logs on the Facebook the moment s/he gets up, and every third child does that the moment s/he opens eyes, before getting up from bed. “It is something that has been spiralling lately, and will continue the trend in the five years to come. Possibilities of abuse on social networks are incredible. I know that you care about that very much, and please, take it into account”, warned Ostojić. “There is no bigger stress for a child than abuse, therefore, thank you for doing what you are doing”, said the Minister of Health, emphasizing that PTSP is the consequence of every stress, and that besides war veterans, children who suffered abuse also suffered from PTSP.

Vice-president Milanka Opačić: “Despite the work that is by no means easy, Center’s professionals have never only ‘formally’ treated any of the children”

Vice-president of the Croatian Government and the Minister of Social Policy and Youth Milanka Opačić has been included in the Center’s work since its very beginnings. She warned that children were often abused by their next of kin and that such an intuition was necessary, although there was some skepticism about it at the time of its establishing. “From those difficult beginnings, when few believed it would live, the Center developed into a project we can be proud of and for which we are recognized in Europe”, she added.

She talked about the expertise of Center’s employees, and about their big hearts and devotion to their work. Despite the work that is by no means easy since it involves daily listening to children’s traumas and problems, Center’s professionals have never only ‘formally’ treated any of the children, but approached each child thoroughly taking care of every detail.

At the end she emphasized that the Center was connected with and helping the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, and affirming the Center’s multidisciplinary approach again, she warmly thanked the Center’s Director and confirmed further partnership and support of the Government of Croatia.

Thank you Award to the City Mayor Milan Bandić for the extraordinary contribution and support in the establishing and work of the Center

Director especially thanked the City Mayor Milan Bandić and the City administration who recognized the idea and the need for establishing the Center. Closing the solemn part of this celebration, Center’s Director gave the City Mayor Milan Bandić the special Thank you Award for the extraordinary contribution and support in the establishing and work of the Center.

Thank you Awards to professionals cooperating with the Center

Ombudsman for Children Mila Jelavić, prof. dr sc. Marina Ajduković from the Faculty of Law, Department of Social Work, prof. dr sc. Dubravka Kocijan Hercigonja, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences and Štefica Karačić, President of the Croatian Association of Social Workers spoke in the professional part of the celebration, moderated by Center’s Head of Diagnosing and Treatment, dr sc. Bruna Profaca. After that, Thank you Awards were given to the speakers and to the associates of the Center for the past 10 years, the County Court Judge at the Juvenile Department, Lana Petö Kujundžić and the Head of Juvenile Delinquency Department Dragan Josipović. The Award was also given to Hana Hrpka, the President of the Brave Phone, the association working on the Center’s premises.

Fifteen employees working at the Center since its beginnings

Fifteen employees who had been working at the Center since its beginnings were given the Award. They are: Director, prof. dr sc. Gordana Buljan Flander, Deputy, dr Domagoj Štimac, Head of Diagnosing and Treatment, dr sc. Bruna Profaca, psychologists Sena Puhovski and Renata Ćorić Špoljar, special educators Dora Kralj and Renata Friedrich, social workers Tamara Gojković and Nikolina Škrlec, nurses Ana Čubrić, Jasna Ljubičić and Ljiljana Bobinec, accountant Nenad Tuta, jurist Zdravko Miočević, and cleaner Đurđica Šimunić.