Ukrainian police officer should be protector of the child

Author : Tetiana Sviatenko

Respondent : Larysa Zub

Source : 112 Ukraine

The head of juvenile prevention department Larysa Zub explains what dangers children of different ages can face with the beginning of the school year, how "children's policemen" will work in schools and why it is important for parents to maintain friendly contact with children
21:26, 12 September 2018

112 Agency

How does the police and, in particular, the juvenile police prepare for the start of school classes? Will there be any strengthened measures?

This year, the first school day of Ukrainian kids was organized in a new format: not only parents and teachers attended the ceremony, but policemen who work with children. And this is by no means a repressive initiative: the police will conduct lessons with children to show that the policeman is a friend, authority and a person to whom one can and should seek advice and help, who will explain how to comply with the rules, and create a safe environment for children.

Juvenile police, as well as employees of other units conduct "Lesson with a policeman" in schools. It will be a short conversation with the children, not necessarily in the classroom - it can also be held in the yard - during which the police will answer the children's questions and tell them about the threats that exist in the modern world.

And is it enough to have one lesson with a policeman once a year, so that the child will learn at least basic safety rules?

Preventive work with schoolchildren is systematic. The project "School police officer" is also ongoing. It, unfortunately, does not cover all educational institutions, but is positively perceived by both parents and children. Policemen work in the form of a game, especially with children of lower grades, teaching them traffic rules.

Also in September we start a new project - the involvement of police cadets in activities with children, along with juvenile police officers. Holding such meetings, during which the cadets together with the pupils will discuss and seek solutions to the problems of children. In particular, how to behave on the street, how to protect yourself from theft, fraud, robbery, how to behave when a child, for example, is lost or cannot return home. During such meetings, it will be mandatory to familiarize the children with the traffic rules and the basics of safe behavior in everyday life. And the juvenile police, in turn, will conduct trainings with the cadets who work with children. And seek experienced staff who have the desire and ability to work with adolescents.

Also juvenile policemen will hold meetings with pedagogical collectives and with children who have not started classes. In particular, there is a new resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on the registration of children who do not attend school. It is we, the police, who will check the reasons why the child does not attend school. If these are, for example, families who are in difficult life circumstances, these checks (let's call them a visit to families) will be carried out jointly with the services for children to return the children to school. But just efforts of police to solve these problems are not enough. It is necessary that both parents' committees and teachers pay attention to such children, because they sometimes even do not have clothes to go to school. At the same time, there are people who have the opportunity to help such children. And by the way, for such citizens it will be good to find out which family needs help, call the police and ask, apply to the appropriate services that deal with children, or look around and see such families nearby ...

You talked about the dangers for children during the school year. What exactly do you mean and how to avoid these dangers?

Analyzing the situation, we came to the conclusion that, especially in large cities, most crimes against children are committed at the time when they go to school, and even more when children return from school. That is, more thefts, robberies. And parents sometimes do not understand that when they buy expensive things, they put their child in danger. Therefore, it is better for the child to use a cheap phone, when going to school - this will not distract from the studies, and it is safer.

There is also a danger on the part of persons who hunt for children. And parents need to explain to children, especially if they are small, first-graders, that if some uncles or aunts offer something just like, for example, to sit the car, or give something, or do some indecent things, - it is necessary in this situation to turn to a policeman or a person in uniform. And if such a person is not around, then, for example, to a saleswoman or a taxi driver. And tell them everything. Unfortunately, perverts do exist, and they can track children who go to school or return home. Be sure to also explain to the child that in any case he cannot use the elevator with strangers - it's better to wait.

When children come from school, and parents work till late hours, apartment fraudsters can become more active. There are situations when they track such situation, so parents need to explain to kids how to behave when they are alone at home, but, for example, the doorbell rings. That you cannot open the door, that you should immediately call one of the parents.

And what about the pupils of middle and high school? There teenagers have very different threats.

It is very important for parents now to pay attention to the safety of children on the Internet. Now almost everyone has a gadget with Internet connection. And there are many threats that exist on the other side of the gadget screen. The main rule - parents should be closer to children. There is an opinion that it is easier to influence children from disadvantaged families, but in reality now there are a lot of families that are outwardly nice, but in reality they do not have contact with children. And suicides and suicide attempts remain, alas, topical. Children can be lonely in any family, and manipulators can influence this child in social networks and cyberspace very simply. As a result of this impact, suicides are possible, and any other negative situations in which children take part.

Also, unfortunately, the actual issue remains the spread of drugs among adolescents. And here, again, parents and teachers in schools need to be more attentive to the behavior and reactions of children. During preventive work with children, they raise this issue.

If such precedents exist in schools, the director of the institution can apply to the police, and the specialists will conduct interactive work with children. We have experience when we involve narcologists, who explain all the dangers in a very accessible way, show films; Sometimes we, if possible, attract idols to tell teenagers about the terrible consequences of drug use.

Now people talk a lot about school bullying. How much is this issue really relevant and dangerous?

Bulling, harassment, cyberbulling is a modern problem that arose with the spreading of social networks, but in fact this phenomenon is not new. Here it is necessary to speak from a different point of view, to look deeper. When children show aggression, behave over-active, I am very surprised that this is being distributed on the Internet. Let’s remind the situation in Chernihiv region, when a girl in front of her fellow students beat another and it was shot on video and posted on the Internet. And then the society, and social networks, and the show on television - everyone publicly condemned it. Moreover, many did not just savor it, blaming those children, but also made PR on this situation. But we must understand why these children behave this way, show aggression. This child survives in very difficult conditions, the girl grew up in an antisocial family, did not see another model of behavior. Even when she was attending school, the teachers behaved as if it were better that she did not show up at school so that they had less problems. And it was necessary to support her. And now, in the era of populism, no one wants to look at this problem deeper, no one wants to help a teenage aggressor.

We, the police, continue the action "I can be myself" with regard to bullying. And we involve schoolchildren who actively help us, and now it is discussed that parents should take an active part in preventing children from committing aggression against each other and supporting them.

Currently, a bill on countering bullying has been registered, which provides for an increase in fines for parents whose children commit such acts. But again, the parents pay a large fine, if a protocol is drawn up under Art. 184 of the Criminal Code "Improper performance of parental responsibilities," then it will be 1,700 hryvnia. If the family is poor, the child is hyperactive, instead of help, there will be a big fine. Nobody wants to solve the problem by helping the child.

Is there specificity in the work of the juvenile police?

First of all, a juvenile police officer, who has been specially trained, who knows the legislation and specifics of working with children, must work with a child who committed crimes, or is a witness or as a victim. Three to five years is necessary to prepare a highly qualified specialist who knows the specifics of working with children.

There are specific regions. In particular, Donetsk, Luhansk region, the war zone, those areas where there are many migrant children, where children are at risk, have their own specificity.

Now we are preparing a memorandum, in order to create an anonymous center for children in the city of Kyiv, against whom sexual crimes were committed. To ensure that such children are not taken to the district department, where they are interrogated and they are re-injured, and then have to go to other instances, and that all the necessary procedures take place in one building, where there are children's gynecologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, investigators. There will be all the necessary equipment, a kind of green room, but of a higher level. And then we will extend this experience to other regions.

To create such a center, funding was provided by foreign partners. We already held a seminar with the participation of many institutions, and with the doctors who work with children-victims of sexual offenses, and with the psychologists and the police.

And most importantly: in order to protect our children, we, adults, need to be in a trend, always keep eye on the current new directions, be aware of negative trends. If we think and educate children the way it was common five or ten years ago, we will not succeed, we will not understand the children. We adults need to keep up with the present day.

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