24sata: ‘Abolish the statute of limitations’: Annual even 510 children is a victim of a pedophile … “

Daily newspaper 24sata brings a report from the thematic sessions of the Parliamentary Committee for Family, Youth and Sport held on 15 June 2018 on the topic of prevention and combating of pedophilia, attended by the director of the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD. The session as particularly worrying emphasized that out of a total committed sexual crime in Croatia, many committed against children. Annually in Croatia we have 510 children that are victims of this crime, of which 85 percent of girls and 15 percent boys:

– In relation to the total discovers of sexual crimes in Croatia share of crimes against children and young people is 68 percent. This figure is very worrying. Criminal offenses that dominate the sexual abuse of a child younger than 15 years, the exploitation of pornography, obscenity, lewd acts against a child under the age of 15 years and introducing pornography to children – warned Zeljko Prša from MUP.

He also noted that out of a total of 300 reported perpetrators, 76 percent of criminal offense committed against children. At the thematic session, it could be heard that statute of limitations for pedophilia should not exist, it should increase the minimum sentences, in order to reduce the number of suspended sentences and institutions that work with children in employment should check whether a candidate for a particular job in the pedophile register. It is also asked whether the existing Criminal Code should be upgraded or made special. In the parliamentary procedure since November, on the agenda for discussion is waiting the HDZ proposal of the so-called anti-pedophile law, which proposes stricter penalties, non statute of limitations of crimes, prohibiting recruitment of those who are legally convicted of sexual abuse of children at places where they can come in direct contact with children, mandatory protective supervision of the offender for a period of five years.

– We support this legal change, but we are sensitive to the good wishes, without violating the legislative legal framework and harmony of our legal system. We’ll include it in the preparation of the final draft of the law, to do something that will be useful and which will protect the constitutional values, our children – said Juro Martinovic on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Support the law was given by the representatives of NGOs dealing with this issue and children’s ombudsman Helenca Pirnat Dragicevic. And the Ombudsman and associations argue, among other things to increase the minimum sentences, but also the mandatory checking of people which working with children.

– Since 2013 there is a register, which is not public and data are available only at the request of the court, the DORH and the police. We are committed to making all institutions whom working with children, from schools, kindergartens, sports clubs to playgrounds and birthdays celebrations to seek confirmation and to ensure that those who come into contact with children are not convicted – said Pirnat Dragičević.

The president of the Association for helping and supporting the victims of pedophilia Anita Pape with the support of the law asked why it is awaiting the parliamentary debate of the HDZ proposal.

– We insist that the law is urgently put to the discussion. It is not clear to us why this law is not yet at the second reading – the Pape said.

She asked how it is possible that today we have a playroom and associations for the protection of children run by pedophiles.

“Something in our country and laws does was wrong – she said.

It is advocated that the existing proposal is reinforced by the amendments, in particular in increasing the minimum sentence. It is surprising to court practice and it is unbelievable that someone for sexual abuse of children gets six months in prison, a probation or even socially useful work.

– What message such verdicts send children who gather the strength to report criminal? We are sending a message it is better to remain silent – warned the Pape.

Why HDZ’s law, which was passed all three main committees has not yet come to the discussion, the answer is given by Irena Petrijevčanin Vukasinović (HDZ).

– I have a promise by the justice minister that the first reading of the law will go after the summer break. Nobody in the HDZ does not stop the law, it is just that before the summer break we have to make 130 amendments to the law, related to EU harmonization – she said.

Gordana Buljan Flander from the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb which has worked with more than 1,500 abused children stated that the consequences of these crimes do not expire and for that reason for her it is strange that there is statute of limitations for the perpetrators.

– These children are deadest inside, four times more likely to attempt suicide, so they do not send a nice message with probation sentence for perpetrators. From practice we see that from the offense to the disclosure goes from 10 to 16 years. Are you wondering why they are silent? Because they are afraid that they will destroy the family, that no one will believe them, they will be stigmatized, and worse, that’s what happens to them – she warned.

Buljan Flander also pointed out that victims are experiencing retraumatization in court, especially when judicial proceedings last up to seven years.

Head of juvenile delinquency and crime to the detriment of youth and family of the Police Directorate Dragan Josipovic furnish the fact that a third of children who are victims of sexual offenses, abuse of peers.

“How is it that peers may have such desires for their peers?” He asked.

Prior to the arrival of the tourist season, he said, the police pay special attention to the beaches, where our, but also tourists pedophiles know installed special devices which monitor and record children. The big challenge, he says, and smart phones that make children fall into a pedophile network, believing that talking with their peers. A frightening example of the last campaign, where police walked among the 260 families whose children had been approached by the abuser.

“We were shocked when we realized that most parents did not know what happened to their children. It is strange that even when they find out, only a few seek help. That is why it is also necessary for parents to be able to help their children” concluded Josipovic.

Original full text (in Croatian language) available on: https://www.24sata.hr/news/godisnje-510-djece-budu-zrtva-pedofila-treba-ukinuti-zastaru-578288

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