After successful regional conference in Linköping and previous exchange meetings in Zagreb and Reykjavik, on 13-14 March 2017 professionals from around Europe came to Haarlem where the third Service Exchange Meeting of the PROMISE project was held. The key theme of the meeting was transfer and adaptation of the project model: the next steps, specifically focusing on promoting MD/IA with linking policy and practice – current practices and challenges in implementing child friendly practices within the child protection systems, implementation in different national contexts and MD/IA services becoming active agents for change in Europe.
Director of the Child Protection Center Gordana Buljan Flander participated in a delegation visit from the Council of Europe which aimed to identify the needs of the Republic of Moldova and the difficulties that have arisen in the implementation of Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
Transversal programme „Building a Europe for and with children“
The Council of Europe transversal programme „Building a Europe for and with children“ in general provides guidance, advice and technical assistance to member states in the implementation of existing CoE standards, with a focus on the development of a holistic children`s rights strategies to address existing and emerging challenges in this field. This visit represented an inception phase of Council of Europe project „Protecting and promoting children`s rights in the Republic of Moldova“, regarding implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.
Objective of this visit was conducting a needs assessment to support the Republic of Moldova in implementing successfully the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, as well as the Council of Europe Guidelines on child-friendly justice.
Delegation included the following Council of Europe experts: project manager of the Children Rights Division, DG II Human Dignity and Equality, Council of Europe, Stephanie Burel, General Director of the Government Agency for Child Protection in Iceland and Vice-President of the Lanzarote Committee, Bragi Guðbrandsson , Director of the Child Protection Center of Zagreb in Croatia, Gordana Buljan Flander and independent expert Olivia Lind Haldorsson.
Implementation of the Lanzarote Convention
The main purpose of this event was to provide assistance in the implementation of the Lanzarote Convention and identifying the needs of Moldova, as well as providing support from the Council of Europe. The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Moldova requested support for the setting up of child-friendly structures to support child victims of sexual violence as well as of training of professionals. This request is in line with the provision of the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and would contribute to the effective implementation of Article 14 on assistance to victims. It is also in line with the Council of Europe Guidelines on child-friendly justice which are designed to guarantee children`s effective access to and adequate treatment in justice.
This visit was focused on the organization of several meetings with representatives of relevant national and non-governmental organizations regarding relevant issues related to the protection of children’s rights in Moldova. The main focus of the meetings addressed assisting child victims of sexual violence and training of professionals working with and for children. Experts conducted several meetings with target groups: government representatives, NGOs, international organizations, specialized bodies, experts, legal professionals and agencies which provide training on child-friendly justice. The target groups became acquainted with the early stages of the project and support measures for child victims of sexual abuse and training for professionals, examples of best practice legal and policy in Iceland and Croatia.
Governmental representatives included in the first focus group were representatives of Ministry of Internal Affairs, General Police Inspectorate, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labor, Social Protection and Family, Ministry of Health and Office of the Prosecutor.
The second focus group was organized for specialized bodies, other IOs working in the field, as well as NGOs: International Center “La Strada”, UNICEF Moldova, IOM Mission to Moldova, The Alliance of active NGOs in the field of Child and Family Social Protection, Terre des Hommes Foundation, Centre for Documentation and Information on the Rights of the Child, Partnerships for Every Child Moldova, RCTV Memoria, The National Committee for combatting trafficking in Human Beings, Keystone Human Services International Moldova Association, Moldova State University, The Faculty of Sociology and Social Work and UNDP.
Supporting measures for child victims of sexual abuse
On the third day, a focus group was organized with legal professionals and agencies which provide training on child-friendly justice: The National Institute of Justice, NORLAM (Norwegian Mission of Rule of Law Advisers to Moldova) and Terre des Hommes Foundation.
During this visit, CoE experts had a meeting with Vice-President of the Moldovan Parliament, Liliana Palihovici. CoE experts also visited the National Center for Child Abuse Prevention “Amicul” Center Chisinau, Center for assistance and protection of victims/potential victims of trafficking “Shelter” and Resource Center for Youth “CRTunit” in Criuleni district.
Director of the Child Protection Center Gordana Buljan Flander participated in all focus groups and presented the Lanzarote Convention with respect to support measures for child victims of sexual abuse and training for professionals with examples of good legal and political practices in Croatia. Ana Marija Španić also participated in these focus groups, as a psychologist of the Child Protection Center of Zagreb, a Center which the Council of Europe recognized as a model of good practice.
As a result of this visit, an initial report will be prepared, regarding the current situation and needs related to the work structures in the protection of child victims of sexual violence, which is then intended to lead to proposals for project specific recommendations to meet the need of Republic of Moldova.