WHY: CHILDREN VICTIMS AND WITNESSES SUFFERING FROM CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

In recent years, in the Republic of Moldova, there has been an increased emphasis on children in contact with the justice system. Back in 2013, NORLAM identified severe shortcomings for children victims and witnesses in the criminal proceedings, typical criminal cases concerning children suffering from sexual abuse, trafficking and domestic violence. This implied an unsatisfactory enforcement of international demands in Moldova. The number of crimes committed against children increased from 748 in 2011 to 1073 in 2014.

WHAT: PROMOTING A MULTIDISCIPLINARY SUPPORT TO CHILDREN VICTIMS AND WITNESSES  BY ESTABLISHING A CHILDREN CENTRE

To meet the requirements of the international instruments mentioned above, NORLAM suggested the Moldovan authorities a project idea – to establish a Centre for Assisting Children Victims and Witnesses of Crimes in Chisinau. The Centre should have provided a prompt and well-coordinated multidisciplinary approach in preparing and organizing the hearing of the child between the judge, prosecutor, defence attorney, interviewer, social assistant and other relevant specialists, ensuring a qualitative collection of evidences, including forensic. At the same time, the centre should have provided health assistance to the child victim and witness and avoid re-victimization/traumatization of the child. This comprehensive multidisciplinary mechanism should be materialized in form of a centre located in Chisinau, offering a child friendly environment and in the best interest of the child.

Substantial work has been carried out to develop a project proposal to reach the objectives of establishing and running the Children’s Center. The proposal was turned down by Moldovan authorties due to lack of funds to sustain the centre beyond NORLAM.

RESULT:

The NORLAM initiative to have a well-coordinated approach towards Moldovan counterparts and international cooperating partners for the hearing of children in criminal cases has had a positive impact on Moldovan authorities by determining a positive change in attitude and understanding for the special needs for children in contact with the justice system as a highly vulnerable group. A working group was created by the Ministry of Justice, which involved representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family, State Chancellery, General Prosecutor’s Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and representatives of two NGOs – La Strada and the National Centre for the Protection against Child Abuse (CNPAC) to further address issues of this vulnerable category of children.

Relevant legisaltion was amended.