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Violence, exclusion, crisis in child psychiatry. Challenges facing the Ombudsman for Children

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Monika Horna-Cieślak has the support of the current parliamentary majority, so everything indicates that she will take the office of the Ombudsman for Children. Many challenges await her.

The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, as well as buildings in other cities, were highlighted in red and the slogan “Childhood without violence” appeared on them. The campaign prepared by the Empowering Children Foundation is intended to encourage people to react when something bad happens. – Even if we are not sure, it is much better to make a mistake several times than to not react once when the child is really being harmed – emphasizes Łukasz Wojtasik from the Empowering Children Foundation.

Violence, exclusion, sexual abuse and the galloping crisis in child psychiatry – this is just the beginning of the list of what children and adolescents must face today. The new Ombudsman for Children will also have to deal with all this.

– I would entrust this office to a person who knows the situation of children and young people, knows how to talk to them, knows how to look at them, hear them, and at the same time protect them and give them a sense of support and help – said Monika Horna-Cieślak on Monday morning, when she was one of many people candidates for the position of Ombudsman for Children. Now we know that she will have the support of the new parliamentary majority.

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Horna-Cieślak is a lawyer, activist and social activist. She co-created the draft of the so-called Kamilka Act. – There are aspects that still require attention, such as homelessness of children and youth, the treatment of children at police stations, in courts, in the prosecutor’s office, and the foster family system – enumerates the candidate for the Ombudsman for Children.

The Ombudsman for Children wants to inspect LGBT+-friendly schools, “what constitutes this friendliness”Renata Kijowska/Fakty TVN

Long list of problems

As Monika Horna-Cieślak says, as does many other people who have been dealing with children’s rights for years, the list of problems is long. – Also the risk factors to which they are exposed: cyberbullying, hate, or very strong discriminatory stress, when LGBT+-friendly schools are exposed to external inspections – points out Joanna Flis, psychotherapist, co-author of the report “YOUNG HEADS. Opening up about mental health” .

See also: They created the miniseries to draw attention to violence against children. “Even a small reaction can make a big difference”

According to many experts, the current spokesman, Mikołaj Pawlak, is seen as the one who, instead of defending children, was often the cause of their problems. – He caused this office to be completely marginalized, he was not present at any stage of law-making – says Iga Kazimierczyk, president of the Space for Education Foundation. – He became famous for his terrible statements about beating children and his terrible inspections of schools – adds Dominik Kuc from the GrowSPACE Foundation.

Therefore – as critics of Mikołaj Pawlak add – the key task of the new spokeswoman will be to break the spell of this office.

If you are experiencing emotional problems and would like advice or support, here you will find a list of organizations offering professional help. In a situation of immediate threat to life, call 997 or 112.

Main photo source: Fakty TVN

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