We hope you have noticed that “Centrs Dardedze” operates in three directions – we provide psychological support to children and their families, educate children, parents and specialists, as well as actively act in advocacy of children’s interests. If the first two activities are quite clear, we would like to tell you more about the third – what have we been working on in 2023?
- After a couple of years of negotiations, we have managed to clarify the terminology in the Law on the Protection of Children’s Rights – “sexual violence” was renamed “sexual abuse” and defined much more precisely. Done.
- We think it would be important to include the topic of building safe and respectful relationships with children, as well as their role in preventing violence, in the training of new preschool teachers, so in 2024 we will run a course on this topic at the Faculty of Pedagogy, Psychology and Art of the University of Latvia for the 1st and 2nd year students of the “preschool teacher” program.
- We actively participate in the efforts of institutions and other non-governmental organizations to improve violence prevention measures in schools, also providing comments and proposals for the “Informative report on the elimination and prevention of emotional and physical violence in educational institutions, as well as on the cooperation of state and local government institutions”. We also participated in many meetings on this topic, emphasizing the need for an accurate and specific algorithm both in recognizing the early difficulties of the child and in responding to severe cases. The report of the Ministry of Education and Science and the algorithm created by the Child Protection Center are still in process.
- We are promoting a system where information about early family risks would be transferred from health professionals to social services (without waiting for situations when it is necessary to report to the police). The initiative is moving very slowly, but we are persistently looking after it.
- We continue to look after the topic of the creation of a violence data monitoring system in Latvia – a thorough study is done (by the Ministry of Welfare) and we have also thoroughly commented on it, so that the system is really meaningful.
- In cooperation with the Ministry of Welfare and the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Children’s Rights, we held a working conference on responding to cases of child sexual abuse. Since many unclear issues were clarified, we plan to continue working on them this year as well.
- Of course, we also did other things – explained the problems of the child protection system at the Saeima conference, started negotiations on the necessary measures to prevent sexual abuse of children in the field of children’s sports and in municipalities, as well as held two expert council meetings to exchange information with other institutions and organizations in our field.
During the year, we have participated in more than 40 advocacy meetings and working groups. As can be felt, working in the defense of interests requires a very high degree of persistence, because things happen really, really slowly, and often the involvement of the non-governmental sector is purely decorative. We care about meaningful change, so we risk being uncomfortable but effective.
Thank you for supporting our core activity, the Active Citizens Fund!