On 29 January, a thirteen-year-old girl from Kavaja reported to police that she had been sexual abused by several underage boys for weeks.
This case raised a number of social and institutional issues in Albania. In terms of the child protection system, at the very least, the case pointed to a failure in reporting obligations as outlined in the 2017 Law on the Protection and Rights of Children. This case also highlighted, once again, the weakness and dysfunction of the referral system in case management procedures.
The case also revealed how society still considers sexuality a taboo, and how family, schools and communities are also failing to provide sexual education or transmit the values of gender equality.
Furthermore, the media’s response demonstrated a lack of professionalism in failing to protect the dignity of those involved, and treating abuse as a ‘scoop’ to lure in media consumers. Of all the public discourse in Albania over the last four weeks regarding this case, the Childhub team found only one article that examines the larger phenomenon that consciously or un-consciously effects societal attitudes toward sex and gender-related issues. The article, Abuse Culture is Hidden Behind the Patriarchal Curtain, was written by Izela Tahsini, and was published on 8 February, on Birn Albania’s online news platform, Reporter.al.
The article can be found here