In Italy, the most common forms of child maltreatment and neglect are not only related to a poor family background, but also to family situations with educational and emotional difficulties.
In order to cope with this scenario, Cesvi decided to create the “IoConto” network which counts on important partnerships on the national territory, and to start a program for preventing and combating child neglect, maltreatment and abuse in the areas of Bergamo, Rome/Rieti and Naples.
The communication and awareness campaign – called #LiberiTutti – gives visibility to the field activities: counselling centers for children and adolescents, trauma treatment, parenthood support, strengthening of the community role and training courses for specialized professionals.
Among all forms of violence, the impact of neglect and maltreatment is increasing. According to WHO, in Europe about 850 children aged between 0 and 5 die from maltreatment every year.
Most abuses occur at home. The abuser is often an adult who is not able to provide his/her kids with sufficient physical, emotional and social care. The psychological consequences on children can be very serious: the more the son/daughter is young, the more the trauma is long lasting.
Prevention has a key role in struggling against maltreatment: in cooperation with psychologists and psychotherapists, Cesvi drew up a Decalogue as a tool of information and sensitization addressed to parents, families and professionals. The Decalogue also provides parents and educators with some practical advice.
How we work at national level
Three territories were chosen as the areas of intervention: Bergamo, Rieti (specifically the lower Sabine district – in coordination with Rome) and Naples. The partners in these three areas are the Consortium FA, the Bambini nel Tempo association, and Il Grillo Parlante cooperative, respectively.
The project activities include:
Spaces for dialogue where children and adolescents in vulnerable situations can be listened to
A place and a time for meeting, sharing experiences and emotions. These occasions increase the child self-protection and help the professionals identify the risk factories and those cases which have not come to light.
The psychotherapeutic support aims at reducing the psychological and emotional consequences on those children and adolescents who have been victims of violence.
Specific courses are designed to guide parents in understanding the childhood development stages, teach them the importance of positive, non-violent, educational and communication methods, and provide them with practical tools for a proper handling of the parent-child relationship.
Training of professionals
The training courses strengthen the professionals’ skills and ability to identify and respond to cases of child maltreatment and neglect in the most appropriate way.
Reinforcing the protective role of the community
The social environment plays a crucial role in facing and preventing child maltreatment. Awareness campaigns enhance social dialogue on the rights of children and on the importance of prevention.
Ph. Roger Lo Guarro