Action "CAN-MDS II" Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect via a Minimum Data Set: from planning to practice
Child abuse and neglect (CAN) case-based data across the EU are derived from a variety of intersectoral sources and follow up of victims at local & national level is not sufficiently coordinated among the involved services.
The main barriers for effective CAN monitoring are the lack of common operational definitions, registering practices and the use of a variety of methods & tools for data collection & sharing among stakeholders.
At international level, given that existing surveillance mechanisms vary considerably in coverage and completeness, comparisons are not feasible.
The concept of the Action "CAN-MDS II" [GA Nr: 810508 -CAN-MDS II- Funded by EU REC Programme 2014-2020] is based mainly on the Daphne III project “Coordinated Response to Child Abuse and Neglect via a Minimum Data Set” [JUST/2012/DAP/AG/3250] aimed at creating the scientific basis, tools & synergies for establishing national CAN monitoring systems using a minimum data set (MDS), where the CAN-MDS System was developed. CAN-MDS System aims to provide comprehensive, reliable and comparable case-based information at national level for children who have used protection services (social, health, educational, etc. depending on countries' specifics) also facilitating CAN monitoring at EU.
The ultimate aim of CAN-MDS II Action is to provide the transition from planning to practice.
Child abuse affects all social classes and ethnicities, and it features a variety of characteristics, such as the age of the victim, violence type and severity, the context where it takes place and relationship between the victim and the perpetrator. This phenomenon is difficult to identify and monitor due to the cultural mechanisms of minimisation and denial, and as it mainly occurs within the family (WHO, 2002).
Child abuse is often repeated and victims get protection and rehabilitative, social and psychoemotional treatment at a later stage. Traumatic experiences are often denied, unexpressed or unprocessed. Clinical evidence and research have shown short, medium, long-term consequences of violence on health highlighting how physical and psychological damage require early, integrated and specialist treatment (see “ACE – Adverse Childhood Experience Study” – one of the first epidemiological studies leading to interesting research data on the connections between traumatic experiences in childhood and physical and mental health in adulthood).
There is a need within the services focusing on the protection of children and adolescents for an improved integration of healthcare services (both institutional and outside), social services, schools and early-childhood education and care, Judicial Authorities and police forces. Currently, a number of obstacles are hindering an integrated treatment mechanism from the assessment and reporting of violence throughout the adoption of protection/treatment measures and judicial trials involving child victims.
About the Project
PROCHILD project seeks to create a multi-professional, integrated model of cooperation with stakeholders involved in response to violence against children. The project will tackle underreporting and fragmentation of services and implement a joint approach based on complementary competences and the child’s best interest.
The Institute of Child Health (GR) (coordinator), the University of Nicosia (CY), the Kazimieras Simonavičius University (LT) and Defence for Children International-Italia (IT) have successfully implemented the project entitled “Alliance for children on the Move: Standard Operating Procedures for Guardians” [REC-CHILD-AG-2016/764244-ASOP4G, which was co-funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020). The project took place from 8.01.2018 until 7.01.2020.
The ASOP4G project’s main objectives were:
to improve guardians’ knowledge, capacity and skills by providing them continuous training on a wide range of topics;
to strengthen the role of the guardian in each country by developing SOPs, and crystallising the essence of guardian’s mandate;
to enhance interagency cooperation and understanding of each part’s mandate and in this way support the establishment of a comprehensive child protection system;
to establish and implement common child rights-based standards on guardianship in the four EU countries represented by the consortium that could be further adapted to more national contexts and thus contribute to a more harmonized and high-standard treatment of unaccompanied children;
to reinforce children’s transnational protection in cross-border movement, and
to safeguard the rights of unaccompanied children and promote their well-being.
Activities taking place during the two years of ASOP4G project’s life had a national and regional-level focus with a more extensive effect.
The project’s core activities were a) an 8-month training process for guardians and other professionals acting as guardians in practice (foundation trainings, continuous training workshops), b) meetings and workshops organized by each partner and a conference, where professionals from all fields and levels of hierarchy gained a better understanding on the need and terms of cooperation among them towards safeguarding the best interests of the child, c) the development of a comprehensive toolkit for the guardian to support their work and safeguard children’s rights informed by guardians’, experts’ and children’s consultation (Handbook on Standard Operating Procedures for Guardians, Index of international, European and national legal framework, Brochure for children about guardian’s role); d) development of a comprehensive toolkit for the national agency responsible for the capacity-building, supervision and recruitment of guardians (Trainers manual, accreditation procedure for the selection of guardians; brochure for professionals engaged in the protection of unaccompanied minors about the role of the guardian).
The project’s major contribution has been the support provided to national guardianship systems by continuously training guardians and other professionals involved in the protection of unaccompanied children, by providing a complete training module and trainers’ manual for delivering a foundation training to guardians, by developing SOPs for guardians to fully represent the child and promote his/her best interests, by producing evidence-based selection criteria for guardians, by strengthening interagency cooperation as well as cross-border cooperation among guardians and by involving children in the system’s evaluation.
The Department of Mental Health and Social Welfare, in collaboration with UNICEF, wrote a programmatic review of services available and accessible to children in the shelters of the Network of the Hellenic General Secretariat for Demographic and Family Policy and Gender Equality. This report is in english here.
Working in partnership with the Lumos Foundation, Institute of Child Health's aim was to support children to move away from institutions and towards community based services, working also to build a coalition with Greek government and with NGOs to support professionals and policy makers in this reform process.
Preventing child trafficking and protecting unaccompanied minors in Greek-Turkish Borders - SESN
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission (ISEC Programme/ISF). This communication reflects the views only of the authors, and the European Commisioncannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein
The main objectives of this project are to contribute in combating trafficking of minors by promoting & developing: i) coordination & cooperation among law enforcement, other state & private national authorities, and civil society, and ii) best practices for the protection of trafficked and/or unaccompanied minors entering illegally the Greek borders (i.e. trainings of frontline professionals, development of database, development of a tool for the identification of minor victims of trafficking, intervention with unaccompanied minors).
Trafficked and/or at risk of trafficking unaccompanied minors crossing illegally the Greek-Turkish borders including unaccompanied minors hosted in shelters/detention centres Frontline professionals - Personnel of state & private agencies involved in combating child trafficking Officials from key-agencies/authorities in protecting unaccompanied minors and combating child trafficking Personnel of reception facilities hosting unaccompanied minors General public/civil society
This project’s activities include:
1. Kick off managerial meeting
2. Networking activities:
i. Development of Greek network through in-person meetings, electronic and phone communication, and while implementing the training activities
ii. Development of Turkish network through in-person meetings, electronic and phone communication and while implementing the training activities
iii. Two coordination and cooperation meetings for Greek and Turkish Networks, one in Greece, that took place in Athens on 1.07.2014, and one in Turkey, that took place in Izmir on 24-26.08.2015
3. Development of tools that facilitate the identification of cases of child trafficking and identify best practices for the protection of unaccompanied minors:
i. Review of European best practices for the identification of minor victims of trafficking, in order to create the basis for the development of a tool for the identification of victims of trafficking in the Greek-Turkish borders.
ii. Screening Tool for the identification of minor victims of trafficking in Greek, and translated in Turkish.
iii. Handbook for the use of the tool for the identification of minor victims of trafficking that accompanies the aforementioned tool and provides all the necessary background knowledge and guidelines; in Greek and translated in Turkish.
iv. Database for registering unaccompanied minors and/or (possible) victims of trafficking entering illegally Greece through the Greek-Turkish borders.
v. Focus-groups with hospitality centres’ personnel for investigating what is done for the integration of children into society and what are possible follow-up strategies, in case the latter abscond.
4. Training activities:
i. Training of first-line professionals (law enforcement agencies, first reception centres and asylum service personnel, medical and paramedical professionals, social and health scientists working for NGOs or at public institutions) on the screening tool for the identification of minor victims of trafficking and on issues concerning unaccompanied minors and victims of trafficking in Greece.
ii. Training of first-line professionals (officials and professionals from regional Police Departments, Migration Management Directories, Coastguard, Emergency Medical Services, Family and Social Policy Directories and Public Health Directories) on the tool for the identification of minor victims of trafficking and on issues concerning unaccompanied minors and victims of trafficking in Turkey.
iii. Training of Athens Airport personnel, police officers responsible for passport controls and security companies' personnel, who conduct body search and baggage control on the tool for the identification of minor victims of trafficking.
iv. Training on the database for the registration of unaccompanied minors and/or victims of trafficking in Greece at the First Reception Service's personnel (Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction).
5. Intervention activities:
i. Workshop on children’s rights for unaccompanied minors residing in state and NGO hospitality centres in Greece.
ii. Implementation of empowerment and self-protection skills for unaccompanied minors
6. Evaluation of the overall implementation of the project’s activities by an external expert
7. Dissemination activities:
i. Development and publication of handbook of case studies of child trafficking and unaccompanied minors in Greece for professionals and trainees
ii. Leaflets for raising awareness on combating child trafficking, addressed to the general public, as well as to professional groups
iii. International Conference for the pertinent public authorities, NGOs, professionals and the general public for disseminating project's activities and results and discussing ways to combat child trafficking and to apply more effectively children's rights in Europe.
iv. Poster raising the awareness of unaccompanied minors regarding child trafficking
v. Development of a website with project’s activities, reports and laws relevant to unaccompanied minors and trafficking.
By the completion of this 29-month project the following results were achieved:
More effective cooperation & coordination among involved agencies in terms of combating & preventing child trafficking by better monitoring the unaccompanied minors entering illegally Greece from Turkish borders Frontline professionals, more likely to encounter and identify victims of child trafficking, are better trained & equipped to do so By creating a developmentally informed tool for the identification of minor victims of trafficking, a handbook with relevant topics (such as legal framework in relation to child trafficking and unaccompanied minors, interview guidelines and techniques, trauma and its manifestation in children) and by providing psychosocial support to unaccompanied minors residing in shelters, we have promoted in practice child-friendly identification procedures. Systematic data collection and registration of unaccompanied minors and or potential victims of child trafficking through the development and delivery of the SESN database to the First Reception Service The general public is better informed on child trafficking issues.
Responsible for the project “Southeast Safe Net: Preventing child trafficking and protecting unaccompanied minors in Greek-Turkish Borders” are:
George Nikolaidis, Psychiatrist, Ph.D., Head of Department for Mental Health and Social Welfare, Project Leader (CV)Kornilia Hatzinikolaou, Psychologist, Ph.D, Scientific Coordinator (CV)
SESN Publication (in Greek): Guide-Screening Tool for identification of minor victims of trafficking
SASCA is a two years project co-founded by European Union through the EC Justice Programme and carried out by an European partnership composed by NGO’s, Universities, Public agencies and Victims associations from Italy, Ireland, Greece and Romania. The project addresses the problem of child abuse in institutional settings, particularly in residential care, from the perspective of adult survivors in order to understand the long terms effects of such events, how and if the survivors of these crimes may find protection and compensation in the existing legal framework, and how their experience may enlighten prevention strategy for the protection of children living today in residential care.