Child Protection Center of Zagreb, assissted by The Ministry of Health and Social Care of Croatia and the City of Zagreb organised a two-day seminar held in Zagreb on March 27-28, 2009 under the title: 'Prevention and intervention in the field of abuse and neglect of children'.
Our Director, Prof. Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, has been a guest at Daily news of Nova TV, where the topic of discussion was the manner of conducting enforcement of a child regarding a court decision on custody:
“Of course, I’m not going to talk about a specific child, but the children who have been forcibly taken from the family in which they live are certainly have a traumatic separation, separation from a safe base, people who love and feel safe, especially if this separation is followed and intimidating, from either side. This is even more an additional trauma for a child. If the media are present, if there are more people present, then the child has a sense of shame, the child has a feeling of being marked, and it would therefore be important for parents as responsible parents to prepare the child for separation, not forcing it to happen and to expose the child such situations – said the director.
Every day as a court expert encounter with situations like this, where too often there is no agreement, it is as you say, too often to the detriment of the child. What behavior of parents are in such a situation harmful to the child?
Yes, unfortunately, a lot of parents behave in the manner that violated all the rights of a child to both parents, thus preventing contact with the other parent, with relatives on other parent, show sadness when a child goes with the other parent, speaks against the other parent and against relatives by the other parent, ask for the child to choose the side: “Choose your mom or choose a dad” and “Reject the other parents”, telling to children that they are happy if child do not go with the other parent, or they point to the expression of the face and one of the most difficult things working with children are false allegations of child abuse, whether sexual as well as physical abuse on a child. And in this fight to show that they are better people, to show that they were right, actually really do not choose means that very often in this case comes to emotional abuse.
Parents have the responsibility, but have institutions as well. What is their responsibility?
Parental responsibility is that after divorce they realize that they will continue to remain mum and dad that child and that child needs both parents and the child has a right to both parents, even imperfect. If the parents fail to behave in such a way, then come institutions – health, education, the judiciary, the police … – which then with institutional mechanisms need to ensure that a child lives with the parent which will enable presents of both parents. So that the child can have both parents, immediately after the divorce, not that child the right to both parents start with the judicial verdict which can occur after 3,5, 6 or 7 years.”