Assessment and treatment of children and families

Primary activities of this department are:

  • individual diagnosing and evaluation of emotional, social and developmental difficulties and other problems of referred children, primarily traumatized children. This evaluation is conducted multidisciplinary, by psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, physicians, rehabilitators;
  • expert forensic evaluation;
  • planning of the optimal treatment of every child and parent who helps the child, including all members of the team, and child’s parents;
  • providing necessary psychological, psychiatric, special education treatment, according to children’s needs;
  • organizing group therapy for children;
  • organizing self-help and personal growth groups for parents.

Assessment and treatment is carried out with traumatized children and their parents (including abused and neglected children) and children who are at risk for abuse and neglect: children with learning difficulties, ADHD, chronic diseases, preterm infants, children from families with impaired dynamics and risk families, children whose parents are under intensive parenting or general stress and others.

Mental health professionals employed in the Center are trained in various therapeutic procedures and apply different approaches: psychodynamic approach, cognitive-behavioral approach, integrative therapy, Gestalt therapy, reality therapy.

Education and training of professionals

This department conducts education, training and supervision of professionals.

Programs include education and training of professionals:

  • working on the projects of prevention of child abuse directed towards children: prevention of abuse, basic facts on abuse and neglect, children`s  rights, how to protect oneself, what to do in case of abuse;
  • in the multidisciplinary teams which include various professionals dealing with child abuse in their professional work consisting of: mental health professionals, physicians, pediatricians, gynecologists, surgeons, nurses, judges, lawyers, prosecutors, social workers, special educators, policemen;
  • professional groups working with abused and neglected children and their families: mental health professionals, gynecologists, pediatricians, kindergarten nurses, teachers, judges, prosecutors, policemen, lawyers, special educators, social workers;
  • professionals working on the project of parenting and pre-parenting schools: family planning, what is parenting, child development, specific developmental abilities and tasks, positive parenting, discipline, reward and punishment system, stimulating age-appropriate play, siblings rivalry, negativistic behavior, disorders.

Besides education and training department also provides permanent and systematic supervision of professionals and volunteers working on related projects and issues.

Public policy and children`s advocacy

This department is in charge of various aspects of changing the existing policies and laws aiming at better protection of children`s  rights and of abused children in general. Its activities are directed towards:

  • changing the existing laws and legislative: identification of weaknesses, implementation of children`s  rights in the laws, new laws if needed;
  • changing the existing court procedures: better protection of children, quicker processing of child abuse cases, specialized courts, judges, prosecutors, child testimony in the court;
  • changing the existing curriculum of education, medical protection, social welfare;
  • introducing all instances of society to the problem of child abuse: school system, medical system, social welfare, denominations, police, legislative;
  • developing national programs of child abuse prevention;
  • enhancing better collaboration between NGOs and GOs;
  • developing an efficient system of services and procedures in cases of child abuse and neglect.

Scientific work and research

Department deals with:

  • research work on problem of child abuse and neglect;
  • systematization of knowledge and cases from everyday work with children and families in the Center;
  • conducting scientific research in the field of child abuse and neglect, and scientific cooperation with other countries and projects.

First comprehensive study of the Center was conducted from April to June 2003, on a sample of over 5,000 children, with the aim to determine the prevalence and some characteristics of violence among children, which has more recently been recognized as a major social and public -health problem. The research included violent behavior that children experience, but also the violence that children make to others in the school. The first analyzes show that 27% of children in the sample are experiencing some form of violence at school (verbal and physical) every day or almost every day, while 16% of children are acting violent towards other children almost daily.

Other research carried out by the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb and Brave Phone:

Exposure to child abuse via the Internet (2004)

The prevalence of abuse and neglect of children in Croatia (2006)

Attitudes and knowledge of doctors in Croatia related to abuse and neglect of children (2007/2008)

Habits and experiences of children and young people when using the Internet, mobile phones and other modern technologies (2008)

Raising public awareness

Within this unit the issues of promotion and informing the public are taking place, as well as writing and conceptualizing promotional and informational materials.

Public education department deals with raising public awareness and with systematic and planned activities in the area of informing and educating wider public on certain issues such as child abuse and neglect, preventive services or existing projects. Such kind of activities are conducted trough:

  • media: newspaper articles, television and radio;
  • brochures and leaflets for parents, children and professionals: basic facts on psychical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, relevant developmental issues, teaching discipline, how to motivate a child, how to play with a child, how to protect yourself from abuse;
  • public lectures and round tables;
  • humanitarian events: theater performances, art happenings and exhibitions, concerts;
  • coordination of activities that include a wide range of institutions and organizations, such as “child abuse week”.
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