The two-day seminar on “Practical application of the Protocol in case of violence, abuse or neglect of children” in the elementary schools of the Republic of Srpska, was organized in Banja Luka by the Genesis Project NGO.
The seminar, which was opened by the Minister of Family, Youth and Sport of the RS Nada Tešanović, was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska, Ombudsman for Children of Republic of Srpska and more than 250 representatives of elementary schools, principals, school counselors, teachers and other professional staff.
It is the last of three seminars that have been organized within the project “Support Mechanism for Violence Prevention and SALW Risk Reduction”, which is being implemented in six municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the auspices of UNICEF BiH and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency from July 1 last year. The previous two seminars were held in Bihac and Vitez.
All seminar participants were awarded certificates.
Results of the research, that has been conducted in the Republic of Srpska within this project, showed that violence among peers is noticeable and that physical and verbal violence prevail while social violence is less present. Also, the boys were observed as more violent than girls. Students, according to the data obtained, choose the time and place when adults are not present, to behave violently towards each other. This data is anticipated, because the violent behavior of students in front of an adult is not expected, which means that teachers still have authority over the students, but as soon as they are not present, the children use the opportunity to clash with each other.
It is worrisome that some respondents noticed that pupils carry weapons to school, and that some of them, according to the obtained results, are using those weapons when violence occurs. This information should be explored in more detail, in order to see what type of weapons pupils use in elementary schools and what students consider as the use of weapons.
As emphasized by Minister Nada Tešanović, violence often happens among elementary school pupils aged 10-14, but the most worrying fact is that there has been violence over children under four years of age.
Ombdsman for Children Nada Grahovac pointed out that children usually keep silent about the violence they are subjected to fearing that no one would believe them. Neglect and psychological violence, as she emphasized, are the most common forms of violence.
Professor Ivana Zecevic, doctor of psychological sciences, explained the causes and consequences of violence to seminar participants, and citing examples from the practice she talked about how to identify abused child and which preventive measures to take.
Ivana Idžan from the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Srpska emphasized the importance of the Protocol for the prevention of violence in elementary schools and explained how to apply it concretely.