On Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice presented details regarding the provisions of the amendment to the Family and Guardianship Code, called the Kamilek Act. Minister Adam Bodnar announced the recruitment of members of the children’s team, which will “analyze various events that caused harm to children and based on them will draw conclusions on how to remedy matters systemically.”
Provisions amending the Family and Guardianship Code and other acts were prepared by MPs of Sovereign Poland and submitted to the Sejm a few days after the death of 8-year-old Kamil from Częstochowa. The changes were supported by 23 institutions and non-governmental organizations. In July 2023, they were adopted by the Sejm and signed by the president in early August.
On Tuesday, at a press conference attended by the Minister of Justice Adam Bodnarthe Ombudsman for Children’s Rights Monika Horny-Cieślak and Undersecretary of State Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz presented details about the changes introduced.
– This act provides for a whole range of legal solutions, but in particular it imposes specific obligations on the Ministry of Justice. On its basis, a team for children was created to coordinate various policies to combat such difficult violent situations, said Adam Bodnar.
A seven-person team of experts from various fields
The Minister of Justice added that “this bill requires a seven-member team of experts who will explain various difficult cases.” – Today I can announce the recruitment of members of this team, which will consist of experts in various specialties, including psychology, pediatrics and social care – emphasized the minister.
One of the people responsible for this project in the ministry is the Undersecretary of State, attorney Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz, coordinator of the implementation of activities to protect minors against harm.
– According to research by the Central Statistical Office, we have 7 million children in Poland. Research by the Giving Life to Children Foundation shows that one in three children aged 11-17 has experienced mental or physical violence in their lives. Fortunately, we now have a legal instrument that gives real tools to change this system. This act was created thanks to the extraordinary effort of experts from non-governmental organizations – explained Rudzińska-Bluszcz.
Additional tools to fight violence
She emphasized that the “Kamilek Act” provides several tools that will bring about systemic changes. – The first one is an analysis of events as a result of which a child or minor either died or suffered serious damage to health. The aim is to assess the functioning of the system for protecting minors against harm and to define actions to prevent such events in the future, noted the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.
– The second tool is the team for the protection of minors. The next step is standards for the protection of minors, i.e. a set of rules that help create a safe and friendly environment for children in various types of facilities. The next tools are two national plans. The first one is a plan to counteract crimes against sexual freedom and decency to the detriment of minors, and the second one is a plan to counteract violence to the detriment of minors, said Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz.
Finally, she emphasized that the last tool of this act are executive acts. – Legislative work on the regulations is ongoing. These are three regulations: on the method of preparing and listening to the child, on ensuring that the child is represented by the child’s representative and on the method of listening to people with disabilities – she concluded.
What is the so-called Kamilek’s Act?
The provisions of the amendment to the Family and Guardianship Code, called the Kamilek Act, entered into force in August 2023. The new provisions include: oblige judges who adjudicate in family and guardianship law cases to participate in specialized training. The Act also provides the basis for the Minister of Justice to establish a Team for the Protection of Minors, which will include, among others: representatives of government institutions (including the National Council of Curators), scientific communities, non-governmental organizations, churches and religious associations.
The changes include, among others: implementation of the so-called procedure Serious Case Review. This concerns the obligation to analyze the most serious cases of violence against children.
A bill on this matter was submitted to the Sejm in May 2023 after the tragic death of eight-year-old Kamilek from Częstochowa, tortured to death by his stepfather.
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