Child Abuse Coordinators Reach Out to Schools

A teenage girl, in her room. / CR

The creation of courts for violence against children is the great pending issue on the first anniversary of the law

Alfonso Torres

Government and autonomies are going to fulfill one of the key points of the law for the protection of children and adolescents against all types of violence just when the first anniversary of the most agreed standard, supported and applauded by the entire parliamentary arc except Vox .

All schools and institutes will have a protection coordinator from September, the teacher who must guarantee that there are and work in the center protocols for early detection and action against bullying, mistreatment, sexual assault or digital extortion, occur in the classroom or in the private sphere and are the work of other students or teachers, relatives or strangers. He will be in charge of making students aware of their rights, their point of reference when reporting an attack, and the link with authorities and the police if the attack requires it.

The plan agreed by the Ministries of Social Rights and Education and the ministries includes that next year there will also be protection delegates in all clubs, associations and sports and leisure facilities that regularly work with minors. Their duties are almost identical to the duties of the school coordinator.

NGOs ask for speed to train toilets, police and social workers

Both figures, according to the provisions of the law, should have been in operation since last Christmas, but in this case, as in almost all, the terms of execution of the laws are not met, not at least to the letter. Another key element of the new protection system is also behind schedule. The Ministry of Justice should have already sent two separate bills to Congress, the first to create courts for violence against children (in the image and likeness of sexist violence) and the second to provide the same specialization to the Prosecutor's Office. The two standards must be accompanied by a plan for the implementation of forensic assessment units in these courts (doctors, psychologists and social workers), essential technicians to ensure the mandate of pre-constituted evidence (a single statement from the minor) and non-revictimization required by the standard. to justice.

The law, which the Government and NGOs agree places Spain at the world leader in child protection, paralyzed from its entry into force the prescription of crimes until the victim is 40 or 50 years old, imposed the obligation to report abuses of relatives and teachers and withdrew guardianship and visits to aggressor parents. It seeks to break the shell of opacity and silence that hides violence and abuse against minors, which in 80% of cases occur in the family, who are silent 85% of the time, and if they are reported it takes decades in doing so, due to the emotional 'shock' and dependence of the victims.

Go from the BOE to the facts

The Government, in these twelve months, launched the sectoral conference, the State Council for Children, designed together with the autonomies a national implementation strategy, started a program to prevent sexual exploitation in centers for minors, protected the rights of adolescent immigrants without papers in the exams of age, and has favored the official investigation of the abuses in the Church.

Children's NGOs, in general, value the effort made to develop the law, but they also urge the Government and autonomies to step on the accelerator in three aspects: specialized courts, specific training for police, health, judges and social workers for early detection and intervention, and the multiplication of public awareness campaigns.

The most critical is Save the Children. “You have to go from the BOE to the facts. If we want to end child abuse, we need the law to be put into practice now. Without it, it is not possible to advance in the eradication of violence, nor guarantee that they grow up in safe environments, ”says its director of Social and Political Advocacy, Catalina Perazzo. For the Childhood Platform, which includes 75 large NGOs, "we must continue to join forces to involve society in the eradication of this violence."

Almudena Olaguibel, from Unicef, detects a general interest in joining efforts to apply the reforms now. “We perceive movement around the need to change certain ways of acting and coordinating ourselves. There are many actors involved and many conversations and shared reflections are emerging, as well as requests for spaces to share information and ways of doing things».

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