"The Rights of the Child – between the Interests of the Parents and the Obligations of the State" was the theme of this annual conference of the ombudspersons for children network of south-east Europe (CRONSEE), held on 28 May 2015 in Zagreb. It was organised by Croatian ombudsperson for children, Ivana Milas Klarić and under the auspices of the City Assembly of the City of Zagreb. The representatives of ombudspersons for children from the countries of south-east Europe and professionals from Croatia discussed how to realise the rights of the child and his/her best interest when the interests of parents appear to be in conflict with the child's interests and the obligations of the government to protect the child's well-being.
The World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse is celebrated on 19th November and it started in 2000 in relation to the Convention on the Rights of the Child celebration on 20 November.
Child abuse is a very serious problem which causes numerous, difficult and long term consequences to children’s development. Exposure of the child to physical, emotional or sexual abuse is traumatic experience which leaves deep scars behind. We believe that stopping abuse and early intervention and help to the child victims may help them to become healthier and happier individuals.
Abuse and neglect of children is not and individual’s or family’s problem, but the wider local community’s and societal problem. November 19 reminds us that it is our everyday task to put our efforts into ensuring a safe place for children to grow.
All states which care for the benefit of their citizens, and especially children, recognised the development of abuse prevention as one of their priority tasks.
The Government of Croatia defined prevention as one of its key tasks in dealing with the issue of abuse and neglect of children in its National Plan of Activities for Rights and Interests of Children 2006 – 2012, which include the implementation of measures added to those of state institutions and non-government organisations.
The Child Protection Center of Zagreb provides efficient and systematic help for abused and traumatised children and their families through its diagnostic and therapeutic work. One of the main aims of our Institution is raising public awareness about the problem and promotion of children’s rights. We believe that, if all citizens, especially professionals, are not familiar with children’s rights and if they are not sensitised to how serious the problem of child abuse is, many cases of child abuse may remain undetected, and children and their parents may not be provided with adequate help and support. We believe that we are helping to stop the abuse, detect abused children earlier and provide better and early help for them through our constant communication with the public via the media, our web page and distribution of promotional materials, brochures and handbooks for parents and professionals.