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Thursday, February 22, 2024

“Hearing is one thing, but understanding is another.” 11 teams are to develop mechanisms that will protect children

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Experts have just over a month to develop rules and procedures for dealing with suspicions that someone is harming a child. Why the rush? The answer is in the statistics – two million children in Poland experience violence. Half a year ago, the so-called Kamilek’s Act.

The numbers are absolute – every third child in Poland, i.e. over two million children, experiences mental, physical or both violence from adults, including those closest to them. For the sake of these abused children, 11 working teams – appointed by the Minister of Justice – are developing standards for responding to signals that may indicate that children are being harmed. – A set of rules that help create a safe and friendly environment for children in kindergartens, nurseries, schools, hotels, all facilities and institutions to which children are entrusted – explains Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz, Deputy Minister of Justice.

READ ALSO: “Childhood without violence”. A unique message in many Polish cities

So far, it was mainly non-governmental organizations that took care of clear procedures. – We think this is crucial. (…) Our research shows that many people (…) do not know how to react – says Renata Szredzińska from the Empowering Children Foundation.

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Task number two is to establish a team to analyze serious and fatal cases of child abuse. The Ministry of Justice has just announced recruitment. – Based on these events, he drew conclusions on how to fix issues systemically, but also how to achieve full responsibility for what happened – explains Adam Bodnar, Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General.

The government will finance a helpline for children and young people. There is also new hope for children with SMAKatarzyna Górniak/Fakty TVN

First: protect

The team is to consist of seven experts: a lawyer, a pediatrician, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a sociologist, a pedagogue, and an expert in social assistance or social rehabilitation. – For this we need specialists who will talk about the observed, researched and described phenomena that accompany our relationships with children – explains Dr. Leszek Mellibruda, a social psychologist. What is now starting to happen is an introduction to the implementation of the Kamilek Act, which has been in force for seven months, but only on paper – named after an eight-year-old tortured to death by his stepfather in Częstochowa.

READ ALSO: Helpline for Children and Youth 116 111 will be financed by the new government

To prevent another such tragedy from occurring, a draft regulation has already been prepared – each injured child is to have his or her legal representative in court. – The act also introduces, for example, listening to the child, i.e. that the child’s voice is heard in family courts, but also that this voice is understood, because hearing is one thing, but understanding is another – says Monika Horna-Cieślak, Ombudsman for Children. – The hearing took place through expert psychologists who presented their opinions on the subject, or in diagnostic centers. However, judges very rarely met children directly – adds lawyer Bronisław Muszyński. Recruitment for the team of experts will last until the end of January. Standards for dealing with abused children are to be ready by mid-February.

If you are experiencing emotional problems and would like advice or support, here you will find a list of organizations offering professional help – both for children and adults.


Main photo source: Fakty TVN

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