These days, while we are all focused on #StayHome, trying to comply with all the recommended measures to end the pandemic as soon as possible, have we considered the most vulnerable groups that don’t feel safe behind closed doors? There are those to whom their home doesn’t mean peace and security, but the opposite. Now they need our help more than ever.
The “Behind the Door” (“Behind This Door Lives Mia”) campaign, led jointly in Croatia by the Ministry of the Interior, the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center and the Degordian Agency, aims to make all of us citizens aware not to turn our heads and to report the violence that is taking place nearby. Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center and the police continue to work on the prevention of violent and abusing events that destroy lives and take away carelessness from the children’s faces, but in these exceptional circumstances of social distancing and prolonged stay at their homes, we need help from the whole society – citizens, neighbours, acquaintances, the child’s closest surroundings, and the media.
Mia, as we called the girl behind closed doors in our campaign, is a girl confronted with domestic violence on a daily basis. There are more such Mia’s than we think, and we can’t leave them alone.
According to research by the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, 16-25% of children experienced physical abuse in Croatia during childhood, as many children experience emotional abuse, while every fifth child is sexually abused.
Today, organizations around the world are warning of an “epidemic of abuse” that could occur as a result of physical distancing, as children and young people, especially vulnerable groups in the current situation, have reduced opportunities to confide in adults they trusts – teacher, doctors, psychologists.
Matijević: “Violence is not a private problem of the family, but a global challenge of our society”
Head of the Department for Juvenile Delinquency and Crime Against Children and Youth, Anita Matijević emphasized that in the context of taking measures to protect against COVID 19 and social isolation, the Police Directorate especially takes into account the possible escalation of violence against children, and prevention of violence against children and families is one of the priorities and the risks the police are targeting:
“Domestic violence is not a private problem of the family, but a global challenge for our society. If we know about such violence, we have responsibility to prevent, especially now when some victims have no opportunity to seek protection themselves. Therefore, we ask all citizens, now more than ever, to be partners who respond and inform the police when they perceive a risk, a threat to the safety of a child or vulnerable family members in their neighborhood.
Police proceeds with urgency when child abuse or family violence is reported and they use victim protection mechanisms, so if you hear yelling, crying, breaking things or calling for help from another apartment – call 192. Your call can save someone’s life.
Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center and the police witness many stolen childhoods, enduring and recurring suffering that no child should experience. Every report of violence is a prevention with aim to stop the violence to happen again or to happen to someone else. Let’s make the home a safe place for every child, together! ”.
Buljan Flander: “All children who can’t escape from their abuser and seek help are at risk, because they are with abuser 24 hours a day”
“The experiences of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, as well as other institutions in the child protection system, say that many children are hurt, betrayed and abandoned by those who should be their source of protection and love. Child’s insecurity at a time when the door of the home is closed, requires both personal courage and responsibility of each person in his/her environment. Child’s suffering obliges us all to be it’s voice and to call for help for him/her. We are launching this campaign with the Ministry of Internal Affairs on behalf of every abused child we have worked with so far as experts, as well as on behalf of any child who doesn’t know or can’t speak about his or her suffering, and for all those children’s voices that have passed through the hallways of the our Center and obliged us with their strength and courage to do our best to prevent suffering and pain from happening to other children”, said Prof. Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, Director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center. She emphasized:
“In times of health crisis, all children who cannot escape from their abuser and seek help are at risk, because they are with them 24 hours a day. We professionals need help from citizens, from people from the child’s environment, from child’s neighbours and acquaintances to help protect it.”
Ivan Tušek from Degordian adds: “These days, we are all focused on the symptoms of COVID-19, and under the guise of quarantine other diseases come to light, too. We want to encourage people to pay attention also to their “symptoms” – shouting, breaking up, crying. The doors of all institutions that otherwise alarm about various forms of violence against children are now closed. That is why we invite all people to open their doors and pay attention to the children in their vicinity. ”
Let’s support this campaign and don’t forget the most vulnerable among us.
DEAR MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES, LET’S BECOME PARTNERS IN THIS CAMPAIGN!
Encouraged by social responsibility and empathy, all participants in this campaign, from the strategic-creative digital agency Degordian to actor Tarik Filipović, have participated in its creation pro bono, and at this moment, we urge you to broadcast this socially important campaign without charge, at the moment of the necessity of social protection of our youngest.
We invite TV stations to broadcast attached materials (visual, video, press release) with hashtag #PRIJAVINASILJE [#REPORTVIOLENCE], and place the card in the top right corner of the screen: REPORT THE VIOLENCE ON 192 during TV programs broadcast.
We invite print media and portals to upload visuals, videos and expert’s texts on the subject.
EVERY CALL CAN HELP…
Report violence, call 192
Contact person for the media: Ella Selak Bagaric, MSc. psychology firstname.lastname@example.org
A daily newspaper 24 sata was covering the background that led to the tragic deaths of two 16-year-old girls - in Mali Lošinj and in Sopot in Zagreb. They published a comment by the Director of the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, Prof. Gordane Buljan Flander, PhD, entitled "Doing nothing means participating in a crime" on February 18, 2020. We present the full text of that comment: