The Project

This web-site was developed within the project “Combining Forces to Enhance the Prevention of Maltreatment and Neglect of Children in Four European Union Member States”. It aims at making the protection of children more effective by including the child’s voice in all we do. That means taking account of the child’s point of view in all our procedures and practices concerning the prevention of violence and abuse against children. The project is being simultaneously implemented inBulgaria,Germany, theNetherlandsand theUnited Kingdom.

The project provides space for children from three of the presented countries (Bulgaria, theNetherlandsand theUnited Kingdom) to share their views on abuse and violence as well as safety. Through drawings and various projective techniques, children express their thoughts, emotions, anxieties and expectations so as to help adults understand their needs for safety and protection.

Adults are responsible to create safety and provide protection to the child. However, in order to do so, adults need to know and understand how children perceive safety and protection. In order to create safety and protection, adults should be careful not to act from an adult point of view, but need to seek a balance between a focus on safety and being child centred. Decisions should be made, as far as possible, with children together, taking into account their age and evolving capacities. We believe that if adults listen to what children say they can better understand children’s needs and experiences and what drives some of their behaviours.

In this way adults will not harm the feelings of children. In any other way, children could feel abused again, or feel even more lonely. The experience of violence is inherently disempowering. Therefore a child sensitive approach is needed to ensure that child protection interventions do not further disempower children but rather contribute positively to their recovery and reintegration.

As part of the project, seminars and training courses aimed at capacity-building, have also been designed to disseminate what has been learnt, to specialists responsible for children’s well-being – head teachers, teachers, social workers, police officers. We believe that this is an effective way of increasing awareness among professionals about the emotional needs of children. We hope it will in turn motivate them to protect children against violence in ways that are in the best interests of the child, seeking a balance between providing safety and being child centred, taking into account the age and evolving capacities of the child.

You will find here a collection of children’s experiences and thoughts relating to abuse and violence as well as safety. We hope it will help you to feel and understand what children do not always put into words.

Gallery "What is violence to us?"
Gallery "What do we need to feel safe?"
Gallery "What do we need from adults?"