School Free of Violence

School Free of Violence

Part of the work on the prevention of violence against and among children is complemented by the project "School free of Violence" implemented by UNICEF, the State Agency for Child Protection, Sofia Municipality, Ministry of Education and Science, and other institutions. The aim was to create a safe and supporting school environment through direct interaction with children, teachers and parents in the school. Activities have already started in 6 pilot schools in Sofia for pupils in 5th, 6th and 7th grade. For the school year 2008-2009, the project was also be adapted for children from the 1st grade.

In 2009, the model of "School Free of Violence" project was documented and disseminated together with training materials to the regional inspectorates of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science as well as to schools and municipalities throughout the country. The final results in the pilot schools of the project prove that all forms of violence and especially physical violence in school and the school yard decreased from 24.4 % in June 2008 to 19.6 % in June 2009. The most significant achievement of the project has been the improvement of communication between children and parents (almost two times) which has led to a more effective prevention of violence against children.

Child Hotline "Talk to a Friend"

The 24-hour National Hotline for Children 08000 19 100 "Talk to a Friend" was launched on November 14. 2007, by UNICEF, the State Agency for Child Protection and Centre Nadja Foundation. It has national coverage and is free of charge for users, and it respects all principles for confidentiality and anonymity. The hotline provides crisis intervention, consultancy, specialized information for child rights and also directs children to the appropriate social services. In cases of danger for the child's health or life, the teams serving the line make a direct contact with the emergency response services - Emergency, Police, Fire Department. The hotline helps strengthening the capacity of the National Child Protection System and harmonizes national practices with recognized international standards in the field of child protection and care.

The Hotline for Children started operating under the management of the State Agency for Child Protection in April 2009. An independent external evaluation of the operation of the Hotline under the management of Foundation "Centre Nadja" was conducted and concrete recommendations were prepared with regard to the future operation of the Hotline. The total number of calls in the period November 2007 - March 2009 was 1,059,582.  Most of the significant calls were related to issues of violence (35 %), family problems (16 %) and psycho-social problems (10 %). In this regard, a regulatory framework the obligation for elaboration of protocols for inter-institutional cooperation and interaction at local level were developed.

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