From: Arjola Tafaj
UNFPA Present Findings of Report on Child Abuse to Albanian Parliament

Albanian Parliament and UNFPA, organized a hearing session on February 19, for the presentation of the main findings of the report Adolescent and Youth Abuse in Albania.

This report supported by UNFPA was prepared by experienced experts in the field of public health and protection of children and young people.

The findings aim to help decision-makers, educational institutions, parents, and young people to understand the prevalence of violence.

The report notes that “although over the last decade there has been a declining trend in the prevalence of various forms of adolescent and youth abuse in Albania, the determinants of abuse remain the same”.

Irida Agolli, UNFPA representative, focused on the recommendations for reviewing the legal framework regarding the protection of gender equality between girls and boys and the prevention and punishment of criminal offenses of sexual violence.

Agolli stressed the need for well-functioning Units for the protection of children’s rights and the drafting of legislation on elements of gender sensitivity.

“More sensitivity is needed in policy-making, to implement legislation on children’s rights and to prevent sexual violence and other forms of violence” delegates noted.

Dr. Gentiana Qirjako, Public Health Specialist stressed that “There is an urgent need to take action and provide all necessary, appropriate and accessible specialized support services to help abused girls and boys, especially in cases of sexual violence. These services must be sufficient to cover the entire territory of the country, must be delivered by a sufficient number of respective professionals, must be fully supported by dedicated allocated budget, and must always be based on the required standards.”

“UNFPA appreciates the co-operation and partnership with the Parliament, with the independent human rights institutions like People’s Advocate and civil society organizations to condemn, combat and address violence in all its forms. A life without violence is a guarantee towards a healthy and prosperous country”, declared Mrs. Dorina Tocaj, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Youth Program Analyst at the UNFPA office in Albania.

In the activity, important findings of the report were emphasized. This included the improvement of legislation on abused children, domestic violence, and elements of gender sensitivity in the drafting of legislation.

The need to strengthen parliamentary control over law enforcement institutions, in terms of the scope of implementation of children’s rights was also noted.

It was also noted that while some work had been done and progress had been made, it was sad to note that there were many cases of violence against children in kindergartens, schools, and families, especially sexual violence against girls. It was found in the report that existing services are not inclusive and cannot cover the whole country, there are not enough professionals, they are underfunded, and do not operate to the required standards.

The event was organized by UNFPA Albania, in the framework of the UN Joint Program “Ending Violence Against Women” funded by the Government of Sweden and implemented by UNDP, UN Women, and UNFPA in partnership with the Albanian Government.