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One year since the death of Kamilek from Częstochowa. What has changed regarding child protection?

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The whole of Poland was shocked when we learned about the death of eight-year-old Kamil a year ago. His stepfather tortured him and poured boiling water on him. A special law was passed to help ensure that such a tragedy would never happen again. Did it work?

Piotruś has a new name and a new family. He won't hold the hand of a substitute mother. The biological father of his eleven-week-old son beat him so badly that the boy will never walk, talk or eat on his own. Joanna Krell makes sure that Piotruś sleeps peacefully. She changed the boy's name because it was his father's name. She runs a Family Children's Home with her husband. They took Piotruś, the eleventh child, into their home. – He sees out of one eye or hears out of one ear (editor's note), because when I come into the room, when we talk to him, when I feed him or when he knocks somewhere, he looks in my direction, looks for me – says Joanna Krell, Piotruś's foster mother.

“More children come to us with suspicion of abuse”

Previously, the boy had not found help, although after Kamilek's death the children were supposed to be safe. A year has passed since the tragedy in Częstochowa. The boy's half-sister wants to remember his joyful brother. – He was full of life, smiling. When I think about our antics, his laughter immediately rings in my ears, so joyful – he tells the “Uwagi!” reporter. Magdalena, Kamilek's half-sister.

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“A year after Kamilek's death. What about the law protecting children?” – see the report “Attention!” TVN

Kamilek's stepfather beat him and poured boiling water on him. On the tragic day, he also threw it on a hot stove. The mother and other household members watched as the burned boy died at home for several days before being taken to hospital.

The “Kamilek Act” came into force. “It's primarily about protecting children”Katarzyna Górniak/Fakty TVN

Last year, 31 children died at the hands of their parents. Including eight until April. These are underestimated data, cases known from the media. The doctor who saved Kamilek a year ago is still treating beaten children, but he believes that social sensitivity is growing.

– More children come to us with suspicions of some kind of abuse, who are reported to us by kindergarten teachers or some distant or closer relatives – says Andrzej Bylandra, coordinator of the Trauma Center for Children at the Upper Silesian Children's Health Center in Katowice.

SEE ALSO: Kamilek's Act is already in force. It is to help abused children

A special team in the ministry

The most vulnerable suffer the most. Almost all, as many as 95 percent, of the killed children were under two years old. – If (children – editor's note) do not go to nursery, basically no one outside the family and neighbors sees them – points out Renata Szredzińska from the “Dajemy Dzieciom Mocę” Foundation and adds that the services do not exchange information.

Szredzińska sees hope in the implemented “Kamilek's Act”. – What is already underway is training for judges with the participation of UNICEF – he says. The bishops ordered training in church institutions on the “Kamilek Act”. – So that on August 15, everyone would be ready to implement new procedures – says Father Leszek Gęsiak from the Polish Episcopal Conference.

The system will do nothing without sensitivity and willingness to help

There is also a team at the Ministry of Justice analyzing cases of child abuse. – We will be able to draw our conclusions and recommendations for institutions. We intend to improve the system of protection of minors, says Anna Chobel from the team for analyzing cases of child abuse at the Ministry of Justice. The system will do nothing without sensitivity and willingness to help. Anonymously reporting that a neighbor is beating a child can save a life. That's why Mrs. Joanna asks on her online profile to send a “Card for Piotruś”. The woman wants to read his wishes and motivate people to take action. – If we can afford to go to the post office and send a card, we can afford to go and knock on the door (behind which harm happens – editor's note) – comments Joanna Krell.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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