On 21st June, 2017, representatives of the Children's Center for Alternative Care for Children at the NBU took part in a round table on "Opening a new page in the understanding of corporal punishment" organized jointly by the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria and the PULSE Foundation.
During the round table results of research and studies on violence against children in Bulgaria were presented. The results, although some of them contradictory, outlined a picture where child abuse in Bulgaria is a common phenomenon, but is still not discussed enough. For example, out of 1839 children affected by violence, registered in 2015, 40% of them have encountered violence in a family environment. 43% of all children said that in case of violence they would first seek family help and 23% would not seek help at all. This data speaks for itself about the silence that preserves the practice of violence against children and raises worrying questions about the norms of upbringing in the Bulgarian family, which are still addressing violence and corporal punishment, in particular, as a method of education rather than as violence and an act of damage to the dignity of the child.
Representatives of the PULSE Foundation outlined the objectives and activities of the start-up project "Chapter", funded by the European Union and coordinated by the PULSE Foundation. The project brings together the efforts of professionals from Bulgaria, Portugal, Iceland and Cyprus to develop methods of positive parenting and teaching.
The purpose of the meeting was to initiate the establishment of a National Coalition of stakeholders against violence and corporal punishment against children, working under the patronage of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria.