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Aiming to contribute to strengthening the capacity of the Service for assistance and support to witnesses and victims, with a focus on child victims and witnesses of criminal acts, as well as the capacity of other professionals responsible for the protection of children’s rights (representatives of the judiciary, the police, centres for social work, education, civil society organizations society), ASTRA started a series of training. Educations will be implemented in six cities in Serbia. During the current month, trainings were held in Novi Sad (October 13-14) and Nis (October 20-21), and in the following period, four more two-day trainings are planned, which will be held in Kragujevac, Pančevo, Kraljevo and Belgrade. To transfer knowledge and experience in the best possible way, we engaged certified experts in the justice field and the protection of children’s rights as lecturers.

The content of the training includes the following topics: (1) Protection of children in criminal proceedings in accordance with the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – operationalization of the principle of the best interests of the child and participation in practice; (2) Communication specially adapted to children and informing children with special reference to the needs of children from vulnerable groups – international standards and national regulations, examples from practice, defining recommendations for improving the behavior of experts in working with child victims and witnesses of crimes; (3) Protection from secondary victimization and discrimination – concept and definition of secondary victimization, psychological support, procedure, forensic interview, role of attorney, treatment…; (4) Individual assessment of the child – presentation of the concept, identification of the child’s needs, development of a plan for assistance and support to child victims and witnesses of criminal acts based on an individual assessment; (5) Action planning of ways to improve intersectoral cooperation and presentation of the results of the work of the MUP so far in this area – mapping of challenges in intersectoral cooperation and ways to overcome them in order to improve the position of child victims and witnesses of crimes, with brief presentations of the work of the Assistance Service and support for victims and witnesses of criminal acts, as well as the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the field of improving the rights of child victims and witnesses of criminal acts.

All theoretical presentations were followed by a workshop/practical part and exercises in which the participants actively participated. It turned out that the trainings are an excellent opportunity for an intensive exchange of knowledge and practical experiences of representatives from different institutions with a valuable opportunity to look at the topic and accompanying challenges from different perspectives. We believe that the participants will have the opportunity to apply the acquired knowledge in practice, aiming to establish a sustainable system for the protection of child victims and witnesses of criminal acts.

The trainings are part of the project ” Improvement of the rights of child victim/witness of crime”, which ASTRA – Action against human trafficking is implementing in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund in Serbia (UNICEF) and with the support of the Judicial Academy.

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