On 4 July 2018, a roundtable was organised for specialists and practitioners in Cyprus. PROMISE experts Professor Gordana Buljan Flander and Ana Marija Spanic from the Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb were on hand to share the history, development, and the current procedures of their service. The participants appreciated the opportunity discuss a subject of mutual interest at this meeting of stakeholders.
The roundtable participants discussed the benefits and challenges of multidisciplinary and interagency cooperation. They agreed the benefits of such cooperation include:
- a holistic and synergistic approach,
- direct, personal communication between agencies can lead to faster results,
- a common understanding of procedures,
- data collection for analysis and research for future development,
- enhanced knowledge and exchange among experts of different fields.
Some challenges stemming from such cooperation include overcoming current bureaucratic procedures and confusion of roles. Good monitoring and frequent evaluation procedures and training can help to overcome these challenges.
On 13 September 2018, a workshop was organised on the topic of judicial procedures for child-friendly justice. The aim was to enhance national efforts to implement child-friendly practices in the context of the creation of the Children’s House. Judges, prosecutors, police and social welfare representatives took part. The workshop featured Judge Dr. Lana Peto Kujundzic, PhD, President of the Juvenile Justice Department of Zagreb, President of the Association of Juvenile Judges, Family Judges and Child Experts in Croatia.
The participants discussed and agreed that children should be heard in a child-friendly space outside of the Court. The Children’s house was supported as such a place, with psychologists and social workers that are trained to work with child victims. It is a familiar place to children who have visited for assessment and therapy, yet is not a casual place. The participants discussed the many needs and rights of child victims, and the importance of avoiding undue delay and of hearing the child. The workshop further discussed the role of judges and prosecutors, and the importance of specialization in this topic. The “Child – friendly justice – checklist for professionals” was used as a discussion tool.
The meeting and workshop were both organised by Hope for Children as part of the PROMISE 2 project.