The protection of children from sexual crimes and violence requires urgent changes to laws

Civil society requires a National Plan for the Elimination of Violence against Children

Tirana, 20 February 2019 - Civil society organizations that work for the prevention of sexual violence against children ask to the Albanian Parliament to draft a comprehensive strategy on child protection against violence and sexual crimes. During the meeting held between CSOs representatives and two commissions of the Parliament “Friends of Children”, they demanded an essential engagement of all the main institutions of the Parliament and of the Albanian Government.

The request of civil society representatives from CRCA and ACE, focused on the amendments to the Laws on the Protection of Children from Violence and the establishment of a National Plan for its Elimination. CRCA required to the representatives of the Albanian Parliament, the Ministry responsible and AMSHDF to prepare a 3-5-year action plan for violence and sexual crimes in the framework of the Child Agenda review. The Albanian Coalition for Education (ACE), the CRCA and the National Helpline for Children ALO 116 will initiate a wide consultation process not only to present their findings and propose a set of recommendations for the protection of children from violence and bullying in schools, and get suggestions for the preparation of the National Plan.

Civil society representatives also urged the organization of open and inclusive meetings in schools. These meetings should be organized by the MPs themselves in all areas of the country with full participation of students, parents and teachers in order to inform them about the situation of children and protection from crimes and sexual violence.

In this meeting was also proposed that the Albanian National Television initiate a nationwide awareness campaign, run by the Parliament, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports in full cooperation with civil society organizations. This campaign will enable children and parents to be aware of violence and sexual crimes and ways to report such cases.

Based on the CRCA requirements for its proposals on changes to be made to the Criminal Code, the Parliament announced that it has convened meetings between policymakers, deputies and the Ministry of Justice to review the required changes and improvements to the Law on Electronic Communications. On its part, the Albanian Parliament requested more specific information about violence and sexual crimes of children in Albania, and on the ways and means of its reporting.

The latest reports bring the reality that in Albania, almost 12% of children, teenagers are victims of sexual harassment, and about 5% of them are victims of sexual abuse (BECAN study). While only a month ago, the "Out of the Shadows" Index of the Economist Intelligence UNIT, in its analysis of over 40 countries rated zero-point Albania for its dysfunctional mechanisms for protecting children from exploitation and sexual violence.

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