Adoption of “The Rules of procedures in cases of violence, abuse and neglect” in schools in the Republic of Srpska, is the first and very important step that should lead to the reduction of violence against and among children. Also, this paper launches a range of additional issues related to its implementation and efficient implementation in everyday practice in schools, so In Foundation has decided to point out thinking that could contribute improving the implementation of this document and the establishment of better mechanisms for the protection of children.
Here are some of our observations and suggestions:
First important issue is to familiarize parents with respect to their liability in cases of violence, abuse or neglect. Parental meetings, organized for parents of the first-grade pupils at the beginning of the school year, can be a place and an opportunity for parents to briefly meet the protocol and some legal provisions, as well as their parental rights and responsibilities, not only when someone else commits violence against their children but also to get to know the consequences for them if they themselves commit violence or neglect their children, even in cases where for example parents do not come to school regularly for the consultations with teachers. Likewise, parents may also be informed briefly about the questions of violence, abuse and neglect, types, causes and consequences. Such activity can be very simple and very efficient at the same time.
Recording and monitoring of violence, abuse and neglect is a key step in the prevention, because on the basis of the collected data, the necessary measures and programs can further be determined that later should lead to the reduction and prevention of violence. As one of the supporting documents of the Protocol is the record sheet that should provide details of all incidents that occur in schools during the school year, during our meetings with representatives of the school, we noticed that all violent incidents are not recorded in the record sheet, which obscures the actual situation, and thus directly affects the initiation of further steps. Therefore, it is important to register all forms of violence in order to get a true picture, so as to create the appropriate responses and effective programs afterwards.
Protocol defines the procedures in case of violence, but it automatically opens another important issue, the issue of responsibility in the case of failure of either party responsible to the Protocol to respond to cases of violence, abuse, neglect. By defining responsibilities in the case of failure we provide a mechanism for the full implementation of the Protocol.
In the situation where violence, abuse or neglect is recorded, when the child is sent further to the process outside school, bearing in mind the best interests of the child, with caution and careful handling that respects the dignity of children and protect their rights and interests, it is important to quickly organize, coordinate and centralize implementation process in order to reduce further trauma of children, because if we do not do so, the whole protocol will not have much meaning.
Next very important question refers to professional and adequate support to victims as well as to perpetrators and witnesses of bullying and their families. specialized knowledge and experience in working with children and their loved ones are needed for this kind of technical and advisory assistance. A permanent solution would be to open centers for children and families, but one step that could precede this is the step to organize professional training that could be grounds for appropriate interventions. Also it would be important to explore the resources of non-governmental organizations specialized in this field, organizations that have specific knowledge, experience and act in the community, which may provide support to the victim or perpetrator of violence. Other system solution is to train experts, specialized to support the victims and perpetrators of violence and their families, an expert who can already be employed at the center for social work or mental health center.
Important preventive mechanism, in addition to other specified in Protocol, is the development of social-emotional competence in early school, and preschool children also, which would allow children (and teachers) to learn and acquire skills and knowledge that would enable them to understand better themselves and others, and thus build a positive climate contributing to greater acceptance, respect, strengthening self-esteem, and thereby better school achievement.