Centre for Missing and Injured Children to become an NGO?
Members of the Interdepartmental Commission (chaired by Ombudsman for Children’s Rights Pavel Astakhov) are working on a proposal to create a national centre for children. Galina Semya, specialist on Russia’s Department for Children’s Rights, shed light on the scheme at a press conference for RIA News.
On 23 November 2009, President Medvedev gave his support to a proposal to create a centre for children. The large number of crimes committed against minors necessitates the creation of such an organisation. According to Semya, 53,000 children were victims of a crime in the first six months of 2010. 11,000 children are missing. Olga Kostina, leader of the rights movement “Resistance” and member of Russia’s Public Chamber and the Interdepartmental Commission, said that the Russian branch of the American-founded Centre for Missing Children will become an NGO.
The centre will cooperate with various authorities in finding the missing children and investigating crimes against minors. It will also unite Russian NGOs. The centre will receive information about missing children from around the country.
There are also proposals to offer a counselling service in the centre to minors who have been victims of crime or exploitation. A further function of the new centre would be prevention of violence and sexual exploitation as well as monitoring the internet to prevent child pornography and the distribution and storage of indecent images of children. Kostina believes that Russian law is not harsh enough on those who commit crimes against minors. For example, in the USA a person can be arrested for meeting a child online and inviting them to their home. In Russia these actions are not considered to be a crime.
Translated by Lina Numan