Prishtina 17 October 2016
Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection KOMF has delivered a press release expressing its concern on the high rates of violence against children.
Statistics show a high rate of violence against children. According to Kosovo Agency of Statistics, 61.4% of interviewed children up to the age of 14 years, have declared to have suffered from psychological violence and/or physical punishment, during the last month from the interview date. 59% of children have suffered from psychological violence, while 24% have suffered from physical punishment. This is due to the fact that discipline models in Kosovo are very often oriented toward physical and emotional violence.
Kosovo actions to prevent the forms of violence toward children are more visible in its laws, policies and protocols. However, Kosovo capacities in creating adequate services to prevent violence, protect and reintegrate victims remain limited.
KOMF recommends the increase of investments from the Government and Municipalities in creating prevention services, including the establishment of programs for parents and professionals who are in contact with children on the positive discipline. It is recommended to invest for the strengthening of mechanisms that enhance identification and referral of violence cases. A strong focus must be given to the investments to create quality services for the long-term protection and reintegration of victims of violence and abuse, through a sustainable financing of services for Centers for Social Work, shelters and other organizations which provide shelter, rehabilitation and reintegration for children victims. KOMF also recommends increasing the efficiency of order and justice authorities for the treatment of cases of violence and abuse.
KOMF emphasizes that violence against children is unacceptable, it is a criminal offense sanctioned by the legislation in force and at the same time a legal obligation of each citizen and professional to report it.
The parent, guardian or another person who is exercising parental authority over the child, who mistreats the child using physical or mental measures or violates his/her obligation to care for and educate the child, shall be punished by imprisonment of six (6) months to three (3) years.
Whoever has reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of abuse, mistreatment, abandonment or neglect and fails to immediately report the abuse or neglect, shall be punished by a fine or imprisonment of up to three (3) years.
Whoever while engaged in a professional capacity related to the child, has reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse, mistreatment, abandonment or neglect or has been subjected to violence or a threat of violence and fails to immediately report it, shall be punished a fine or imprisonment of three (3) months to three (3) years.