On the International Day of Nonviolence, on October 4, 2018, the forum ‘Violence among children – experts – participants or protectors in violence’ was held on the campus of the University of Dubrovnik. The panel was addressed by the director of the Child and Youth Protection Centre of Zagreb, Prof. Sc. D. Gordana Buljan Flander, Director of the Centre for Social Welfare of the City of Dubrovnik, Ružica Misir and Dr. Martina Jerinić-Njirić from the Public Health Institute of the Dubrovnik County.
Numerous media reported from the Forum. We relay sections of Zvonimir Pandža’s report that was published on Dulist.hr portal:
“- When we receive the report, our expert social workers at the reception office are obliged to inform children’s parents. We talk to parents and let the parents know what happened and how we received the report. Social workers are obliged to keep all details as a professional secret – explained Ružica Misir, speaking about the work of the Centre for Social Welfare. According to the data in cases of peer violence, children are most likely to open up to their parents, and The Centre will inform them about the reports within 24 hours.
– A colleague from the Social Welfare Centre mentioned the protocol on the treatment and responsibility of each one of us when we notice violence. What we, as a Department for mental health, do is to provide help and support for the victims of violence, in this case children who are exposed to violence. We also need to provide assistance to a child who has committed violence to support and help them change their behaviour – said Martina Jerinić-Njirić about the service provided by the Public Health Institute of the Dubrovnik County.
In addition to direct help after the violence has already occurred, Jerinić-Njirić emphasized the activities of the Institute in the active prevention of violence through regular researches and programs based on the obtained data.
– Those who have experienced emotional violence, insults, isolation or derision would certainly feel just as bad, if not worse, than victims of physical violence, the only question is how much support they got, whether they confided in someone and also did they believed they would get support at all. Today’s message is: Do not stay silent, ask for help, because if you don’t seek help, adults sometimes don’t recognize that the support is needed – concluded Buljan-Flander.
– We all have to work together and create an environment in which things we are talking about today are not happening, especially us adults who work in such positions. You will always find support and friendship in us, especially in your professors, teachers and parents, because there is no problem that we cannot solve when we get together – President of the City Council Marko Potrebica closed the forum, who is also a father of children attending kindergarten and elementary school.
The forum is part of the campaign called “You are not alone, there are more of us” for the purpose of preventing and raising awareness of peer violence. “