On 28-29 November 2016, professionals from around Europe came in Linköping to gather inspiration to launch an innovative way to support child victims of violence in their own countries. The conference and study visit took place over one and a half days, gathering practitioners, national authorities, NGOs and regional bodies from across Europe. The objectives of the conference included to facilitate regional exchange of good practice and to build a strong European movement for multi-disciplinary and inter-agency services, which embody international and regional legal obligations. Director of Child Protection Center, Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, and Center`s psychologist Ana Marija Španić joined the conference and the study visit. The first day was dedicated to the conference, including presentations from key experts in the area. The second day was dedicated to a study visit at Barnahus Linköping.
The Association of the Social Welfare Centers of Slovenia, in the period from January to June 2018, organized five two-day trainings for the professional staff of the Centers for Social Welfare on the topic “Working with abused and vulnerable children, difficulties of children in high-conflict divorces and forensic interviews”. In total, 200 professional staff and staff from 62 social welfare centers from different parts of Slovenia were included in the education. All the education cycles that took place in Ljubljana, Celje, Maribor and Kopar were led by the director of the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb, professor Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD.
In all five cycles that organized, on the first day of education Prof. Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD held lectures on types of child abuse, symptoms and consequences of abuse as well as on the role of experts themselves and co-operation with other institutions. In addition, part of the education involved the forensic interviews of children by the most well-known NICHD protocol, developed based on knowledge of child development (language skills, memory, suggestibility, forensic needs, behavior of examiners, stress and trauma).
On the second day of education, Prof. Buljan Flander, PhD held a lecture on high-conflict divorce and treatment interventions by experts in working with a child and parents who are in the divorce proceedings or whose which conflict persists for years. After the lectures, work was done in small groups where the participants had to know in a professional way, according to their knowledge, to find out true will and wishes of the child and to evaluate best interest in the current situation.
Experts were interested in discussion and supervisory work in relation to interventions that would ensure the best interest of the child in cases of high-conflict divorces. Participants from all the centers of Slovenia agreed that these trainings linking theoretical and practical guidance help in further work and professional development.