CHILDREN SAID

I have the right to live and play, and it must be heard by everyone.

Jelena, 9 years old

I have the right to be protected and no one can abuse me.

Milan, 6 years old

I have the right and obligation to go to school

Marko, 10 years old

True family should, from the our earliest period, teach us how to love and respect.

Jovana, 16 year old

Happy is the Child with the family who love, advice and support them.

Marina, 15 year old

Thematic Conference of Ombudsmen for Children of Southeast Europe was held on November 4th in Banja Luka, organized by Ombudsman for Children of Republic of Srpska, with the support of Save the Children Norway, titled "Priorities of Institutions of Ombudsmen for Children in protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation".

The Conference was attended by representatives of Institutions from Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Vojvodina, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic of Srpska.

This meeting is thematic continuation of the Regular Annual Conference held in May titled "Children have the right to protection from sexual abuse and exploitation. Have we done enough to protect them?"

The participants of the Conference agree in evaluation that violence against children is a serious social problem which as a problem must be recognized, on which children must openly speak, the perpetrators appropriately sanctioned and a child-victim provided with the necessary support and protection

Protection of children in this area requires systemic solutions and engagement of a large number of institutions in order to ensure to every child the right to dignity, health, development, upbringing and growing up. The system is still not prepared enough to adequately fight the causes and consequences of this, for the child the worst form of violence. These acts alone are extremely difficult, the consequences for the child are extremely difficult and in a situation where psychosocial work with the child-victim is absent the consequences are much more difficult. And that, again, is abuse against a child.

The participants of the Conference were informed about the Council of Europe's activities which is initiating a three-year campaign "STOP sexual violence against children" which further obliges us to persevere in initiated activities.

The Institution of Ombudsman of Macedonia is the Coordinator of the Network of Ombudsmen for Children of Southeast Europe for 2011, by the decision of the participants of the Conference. 

 

The priorities of the Ombudsman for Children of Republic of Srpska are:

1.Establishment of SOS line-Support center for children

The problem of violence against children is still not considered serious enough, primarily in the part of consequences that these actions leave on the child and its development. Violence against children is a serious social problem. Child abuse within the family, in all its forms, represents not only the most serious forms of domestic violence but violence in general, because it leaves serious physical and psychological consequences on the child. The fundamental right of every child, the right to life and development, is not only violated, but seriously threatened by various forms of abuse and neglect. By item analysis of five cases of sexual violence against children, it stems that participation of social welfare centers is reduced to the presence of social workers while the child is giving a statement in criminal proceedings. The practice shows that after the proceedings of individual cases, children-victims are often left to themselves. The necessary and appropriate help and support to a child and its family are lacking. The support measures that would, as much as possible, minimize the consequences of already committed are lacking and just the consequences of violence cause that their right to dignity, health, development and upbringing is seriously affected.

Therefore, we consider very important the establishment of SOS line for support to children, or the establishment of the centre which children could feel free to contact, and that would, not only keep record of these cases, but rather provide the necessary psycho-social support to a child victim of any form of violence. These children are growing up with the belief that they themselves have contributed to that and that they are to blame for what is happening to them. Children should not grow up with that and they must be helped with that. Children do not have the address where they can, without fear and shame, talk about what is happening to them and the society in dealing with the perpetrator, performs further violence over the children because it does not take their problem seriously. Only when, as the victims of violence, they themselves come into conflict with the law we begin to understand the causes of such behavior.

2. Amendments to the Criminal Code should regulate

a-statute of limitations for prosecution of criminal acts committed against children arrange in a way that the statute of limitations runs from the age of maturity of the child,

b- age limit of the child for voluntary consent to sexual intercourse define by the law from the age of 16 in order to avoid the possibility that rape goes unpunished because it was "voluntarily",

c-tighten sanctions against the perpetrators of these acts, especially define by the law higher minimum sentence so as to prevent the possibility that the perpetrator be sentenced to one year, which is further violence against a child,

d-to the perpetrator of these criminal acts, in addition to imprisonment it is mandatory to pronounce the measure of treatment-psychosocial treatment, because they are sick people which should, together with the penalty, be treated,

e-by the law to determine a ban to the perpetrator of these acts of performing any activities associated with children.

3. Passing the Law on Registry of perpetrators of criminal acts against children-establish a register-base of the perpetrators of these criminal acts so that these persons be under the constant supervision of competent institutions.