Index: “Children will not go to school by the end of the year and many are closed at home with abusers”

The increase in domestic violence during the isolation period due to the coronavirus pandemic and the “Behind the Doors” campaign launched by the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the digital agency Degordian, writes journalist Martina Pauček Sljivak in the Index. In an article titled ‘Children will not go to school by the end of the year and many are closed at home with abusers’ on 21 April 2020, cited data MIA about the increase in violence against children in the first quarter of the 2020 year :

“The index asked the police for the latest data on violence against children, and the data shows that the number of such cases has increased compared to last year. In the first three months of this year, there were 569 criminal offenses Violations of children’s rights in relation to 326 such crimes in the 2019 year…

“Compared to the statistical indicators in the field of criminal protection of children and loved ones, in the first three months of 2020, we recorded a total of 1,745 criminal offenses, an increase of 8 percent over the same period in 2019. The highest increase is recorded in the criminal offense of Infringement of the Rights of the Child, in the first three months of this year we recorded 569 criminal offenses compared to 326 criminal offenses in 2019”.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs points out that all actions related to reports of domestic violence and violence against children continue to be prioritized and urgent.

“We are aware that in cases of disturbed family dynamics, this situation may have the effect of increasing the risk of domestic violence, especially for vulnerable family members: children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Therefore, reports of domestic violence are considered to be the riskiest interventions that do not suffer any delay, regardless of other threats, ”the MUP said.

In this regard, the competent organizational unit of the Police Directorate has submitted, to all police administrations, an alert regarding the risks we face in terms of taking measures to suppress covid-19, noting in particular that in these extraordinary circumstances, the handling of reports or exposure child physical, sexual abuse or other threatening behavior in addition to reports of current exposure to domestic violence, priorities that require urgent action to prevent further abuse and protect victims. ”


“The director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, told Index that at the time of the coronavirus epidemic, many children were being confined at home with their abusers.

“These children are locked up with abusers, they cannot call the Brave Phone because their parents would hear them, and what is happening now is that many children are exposed to abuse by not only one, but by both parents because there are many risk factors, ranging from parental unemployment. uncertainty, isolation of children from the rest of the world. Parents express their anger at the weakest family member – a child. Children thus experience the worst of times because they are exposed to the abuse of both parents, so they cannot complain to any of them, and it is worse. That’s why we need to appeal to the courage and responsibility of neighbors to respond and report if they hear violence because we all have to be the voice of these children” Gordana Buljan Flander told to Index.

She states that another form of violence is happening at the moment in children of divorced parents who have had highly conflicted divorces.

“At the moment, apart from physical, many children are also exposed to psychological violence. Parents who are otherwise manipulative now use the situation to the children of prohibition Seeing with the other parent, and according to our information, do not give them even did not contact via Skype, WhatsApp, and other platforms to help the child with the other parent see a video call” said the Index Gordana Buljan Flander.


The campaign “Behind This Door Live Mia” is Launched

Her Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, together with the Ministry of Interior and the Degordian Agency, has launched a “Behind this door” campaign, which aims to make all citizens aware of the violence occurring in their vicinity, especially for the youngest.

Mia, as in the campaign called the girl behind closed doors, daily encounters with domestic violence, and such Mia, they say from the Police Directorate, “among us have more than we think and we must not leave them ourselves.”

Head of the Department of Juvenile Delinquency and Crime at the expense of youth Anita Matijević points out that, in the context of taking measures to protect against coronavirus and social exclusion, the Police Directorate especially takes into account the possible escalation of violence against children.

She states that preventing violence against children and families is one of the priorities and risks the police are targeting.

“Violence is not a private problem for the family, but a global challenge for our society and everyone who knows about it has a responsibility to prevent it, especially now that some victims have no opportunity to seek protection themselves,” Matijević said.

Therefore, it asks all citizens to be partners, now more than ever, partners who, when they perceive risk, a threat to the safety of a child or vulnerable family members, respond and communicate their knowledge or doubts.

MUP: Call 192 when you hear yelling, crying, breaking things and calling for help from another apartment

She notes that the police act on the reports or information about the exposure of children to abuse in a hurry and use victim protection mechanisms” so if you hear yelling, crying, breaking things and calling for help from another apartment – call 192, your call can save someone’s life.”

“The doors of all institutions that otherwise alarm about various forms of violence against children are closed,” warned Ivan Tušek of the Degordian agency, urging citizens to pay attention to children in their vicinity.

Gordana Buljan Flander told Index that Poland has taken over their “Behind this door” campaign and that they are in talks with the Council of Europe and the European Commission to have other EU members take over the campaign. And as of today, this campaign is on the portal of the European Crime Prevention Network.

Vanja Slijepčević Saftić, PhD – MD, deputy director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, said that the question of safety of children in families in which the previously existed domestic violence.

For some, home is the most dangerous place in the world

For them, children living in abusive families are said to be the most dangerous place in the world for home.

At the time of the coronavirus, quarantine lifestyles, he stressed, increased the risk of security in a home affected by domestic violence.

Such experiences, she says, are already systematically non-existent in China, where the #AntiDomesticViolenceDuringEpidemic movement was founded on the Sina Weibo platform. In Sixth Tone magazine, Wan Fei, founder of the nonprofit Anti-Violence Association, states that the number of domestic violence has almost doubled since the outbreak of the epidemic in China.

“In our circumstances, the opportunity to take the field, as one of the basic functions of the Centers for Social Welfare and the consequent inability to assess the situation, is significantly limited. It is common for victims of violence to tend to delay the reporting of abuse, often waiting for the abuser to leave home for work or elsewhere, hiding the truth from friends, relatives and other known people. In these circumstances, completely changing the daily rhythm, such a scenario is completely impossible, ”says Slijepčević Saftić. ”




Disclaimer: This is unofficial translation provided for information purposes. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center cannot be held legally responsible for any translation inaccuracy. 

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