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(DF) Institutions Should Coordinate Approach at Work with Children Victims of Domestic Violence - Experts

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November 29 (BTA) – Institutions should coordinate their approach at work with children who are victims of domestic violence, experts from the Animus Association Foundation and the Social Activities and Practice Institute (SAPI) said at a BTA-hosted news conference on Monday.

The two organisations participate in BODROZI – a national-level project for reaction in cases of domestic violence on children. The project was implemented on the territory of Bulgaria from October 2019 until December 2021. Over 1,000 professionals have been trained on the subject of violence against children in the process.

Conflicts between parents have increased quite alarmingly in the last two years, Animus Director Maria Chomarova said, and awareness of the need to discuss violence against children is increasing in Bulgaria. The problem requires commitment from society in general – from citizens and social workers to policemen, prosecutor and psychologists.

The experts have registered some delay in the reaction of institution. The first thing that is done in a case of violence is risk assessment that determines further action, Neli Petrova-Dimitrova, Chair of the SAPI Board said. In most cases, the first one to be alerted is the police which, in turn, alert the State Agency for Child Protection.

Animus and SAPI find that healthcare and education specialists are lacking in cases of violence over children. Only 33 education representatives and seven doctors attended the regional-level training courses under the BODROZI project, the experts said.

The first symptoms of children victims of violence could appear in class, Dimitrova stressed. Children are frequently punished for negative actions at school, instead of receiving support, she added.

The children do not want the tormentors to be punished by being sent to jail, they just want the violence to stop, Chomakova explained. She added that sexual abuse of children is a great problem in Bulgaria and the country should develop more effective penalties for such cases.

The conclusive conference under the BODROZI project on the subject of "Children’s Cries behind Closed Doors" will be held on December 2 and 3. The venue will be livestreamed in the Animus and SAPI Facebook pages.DD/BR/

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