News from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Source: Stronger Voices for Children

Sarajevo, 21 January 2016

Press release: The Guidelines for Treatment in case of violence against children must become binding for all

The Council for Children of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which discussed the implementation of the Action Plan for Children for the period 2015-2018, as well as the plans for the implementation of measures aimed at combating bullying, held its session today.

Representatives of the network  Stronger Voice for Children called for urgent dissemination of already adopted Guidelines for handling cases of violence against children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, not only to educational institutions and centers for social work, but also to the entire BiH public.

According to the network’s coordinator, Berina Ceribasic, “Although guidelines were adopted back in 2013, we do not have confirmation that all appropriate cantonal ministries are familiar with the guidelines, let alone institutions that work with children. 

The  Network is ready to introduce guidelines for all the relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and familiarize all parents and guardians with the content of the Guidelines, since that could aid the fight against child abuse.

.The guidelines for handling cases of violence against children do prescribe in detail  how to identify child abuse, how to act, who to contact, and what their duties are in cases of neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional violence and sexual violence, as all of these fall under the category of child abuse.

“Guidelines should be made available not only to the authorities and educational institutions but also to the general public. Child protection is a task not only for parents or the part of the system that deals with it specifically, but for the BH society as a whole “, concluded Ceribasic.

The Network believes that the existing Guidelines lack sanctions for those who failed to protect children victims of violence or for those who failed to report violators, especially for professionals that work with children. Finding ind modules that ensure strict sanctions for such people becomes rather urgent at this stage.

In addition, the network Stronger Voice for Children was tasked at today’s session to prepare and distribute new Guidelines for determining the best interests of the child. The network   is committed to providing and distributing these guidelines to public and private institutions of social welfare, education, health, and the courts, administrative authorities or the legislative bodies in order to ensure that professionals working in these institutions act in the best interests of children in BiH.

The network Stronger Voice for Children is the only network of non-governmental organizations in BiH dealing with children’s rights. The organisation consists of 20 NGOs operating in our country. The tasks of the coalitions are, among other things, to monitor the status of children’s rights in BiH, as well as conduct advocacy work for inclusion of appropriate budget lines aimed at children on all government levels. The network is also committed to promoting the social responsibility of the profit sector in order to increase the financial resources allocated to children.

The Council for Children is a permanent body of the Council of Ministers that was set up in late 2002. The network  Stronger Voice for Children became a member of the Council in 2013.