The Launch of the “RAISE Youth” project took place on 03.07 at the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb, Croatia. Under the full name “Rural Action for Innovative and Sustainable Entrepreneurship for Youth” the project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment with 3.1 million EUR. Project duration is 40 months, ending 31. December 2021.

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On November 10, in the online platform Zoom, inspectors of the Children's Pedagogical Room, social workers from the Child Protection Departments and other regional structures involved in children's rights actively participated in a training dedicated to children, witnesses of domestic violence, organized by the Center for Sustainable Communities Development and Association Center "Dinamika" - Ruse.

According to the participants, social workers often have difficulties in assessing the signal given to them, and according to the representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the court and prosecutors too often do not believe the words of the children during their hearings in blue rooms. Inspectors are adamant that children have specifics of emotional development that must be taken into account and they cannot be expected to pass on what happened to them as adults.

During the meeting Children First Project was presented as well as its aims and activities (you can find project presentation here: https://cscd-bg.org/en/projects/project-children-first/children-first-improving-local-services-for-a-more-effective-and-child-centred-approach-to-witnessed-violence ). CSCD expert Diana Georgieva shared the experience of the Italian partner in the project - CISMAI, explaining the guidelines for intervention when it comes to children who witness domestic violence.

Deana Dimova, director of the Association Center Dinamika gave a detailed analysis of how the Covid-19 pandemic affected domestic violence and in particular the evidence of domestic violence. Her colleague Adriana Angelova explained how they work with children witnesses of domestic violence in the AVC in Ruse. Emphasis was also placed on the quantitative and qualitative data related to the users of services in the AVCs.

Of course, the regulatory framework is also important in these cases. For this topic the floor was given to Elka Porominska – lawyer from Association of Women Lawyers and to Maria Gancheva, a member of the Milan Bar Association. She complemented the discussion with good practices from Italy.

After the presentations of the panelists, it became clear again that the evidence of domestic violence is a problem that is not paid enough attention in the public space, and field experts need a number of trainings to increase capacity.

Another training is forthcoming within the project, this time in Ruse, where we will meet with children's teachers, pedagogues and nurses.

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